Colorado health department encourages getting vaccinated before the holidays amid rising flu and COVID-19 cases

Colorado health department encourages getting vaccinated amid rising flu and COVID cases
Published: Dec. 7, 2022 at 5:02 PM MST
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - Health departments across the country, including Colorado, are reporting a rise in cases of respiratory illnesses including COVID-19, RSV, and the flu.

As we head closer to Christmas and New Years, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is encouraging people to be up to date with their vaccinations before traveling and participating in large gatherings.

“We as a community need to do our best to protect not only ourselves but each other,” said Diana Herrero, Deputy Director for the CDPHE Division of Disease Control & Public Health Response. “So I really want to go back to encouraging vaccination as a means to offer that protection.”

While there is no vaccine to combat RSV, there are vaccines available across the state for the COVID-19 Omicron variants as well as the flu; both of which take about two weeks to offer protection against illness.

Herrero also says that even though some people may have only had a mild experience after contracting these diseases, that is not always the case for older adults, younger children, and anyone who has a immune compromising condition.

“They could have a very different experience and have severe disease that could result in hospitalization or even death,” said Herrero.

Apart from getting vaccinated, Herrero recommends doing things like covering your coughs and sneezes, staying home when you are sick, and practicing good hand hygiene as other effective ways to prevent transmission.

“If you’re experiencing any symptoms, or maybe you think you’ve been exposed, it’s really important for people to go and get tested,” said Herrero. “There are some tests that can test for COVID, flu, and RSV at the same time.”

CDPHE has dashboards for the flu and COVID-19 that are updated regularly so everyone can keep track of current cases and hospitalizations.