Sept. 28, 2023
MARSHFIELD – Marshfield Clinic Health System is now offering influenza (flu) vaccinations at all primary care locations throughout Wisconsin.
Influenza, commonly referred to as “flu," is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and it is responsible for up to 700,000 hospitalizations and 50,000 deaths each year in the United States. The best way to prevent flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year. Studies have shown that vaccination reduces the risk of hospitalization and death from influenza.
In the northern hemisphere, most of the time flu activity peaks between December and March, but activity can last as late as May.
“The exact timing and severity of influenza each year in the United States is unpredictable," said Dr. Edward Belongia, an infectious disease epidemiologist at Marshfield Clinic Research Institute. “The virus is constantly changing, which is why it's important to get a flu vaccine every fall."
You should get a flu vaccine before influenza begins spreading in your community. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies that protect against influenza to develop in the body. CDC recommends that people get a flu vaccine by the end of October for best protection for the influenza season.
People over 65 years of age should receive one of the higher dose flu vaccines to ensure the highest level of protection. Children who need two doses of vaccine to be protected should start the vaccination process sooner, because the two doses must be given at least four weeks apart.
Last winter the flu vaccine reduced the risk of flu by about half. Based on early data, the 2023-24 vaccine is well-matched to the circulating flu strains and is expected to offer substantial protection.
“Receiving the vaccine doesn't guarantee you won't get the flu, but the vaccines will help protect against serious flu illness or complications," said Dr. Belongia.
Vaccination is especially important for older adults and young children who have the highest risk of developing flu complications. These can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as heart failure, asthma or diabetes.
It is easy and convenient to schedule your flu vaccine online through your My Marshfield Clinic account. Visit marshfieldclinic.org/flu for information and appointment options. The Health System offers flu vaccines at primary care locations during flu season. Flu vaccine appointments are preferred, but our locations also offer flu clinics periodically throughout the season to make it convenient for patients and community members to stop in for a flu vaccine.