Over 60 Virginia entities issue joint statement urging Commonwealth to get flu shot; Lyft to give ride credits


FILE – This Jan. 23, 2020 file photo shows a patient receiving a flu vaccination in Mesquite, Texas. According to a study released on Wednesday, June 24, 2020, flu vaccines for years were close to 60% effective against the flu strain that caused the most lab-confirmed illnesses last winter, but it proved only 31% effective last season. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)

VIRGINIA (WAVY) — As the Commonwealth prepares for the coming flu season, over 60 entities have come together to release a statement urging the public to get their flu shots — especially now, during the pandemic.

“In addition to the human cost, the economic impact of the flu-related to lost work time, productivity, and medical resource investment amount to billions of dollars annually,” the statement reads.

“Getting a flu shot is especially important for people in communities with health outcome disparities that have also been hard hit by COVID-19 – data indicates that Black, Latinx, and Asian adults have lower average flu vaccination rates than white adults.” 

Participating entities include hospitals, health care providers, and organizations representing state and local government, businesses, educators, and many other stakeholders and communities of interest in Virginia.

Additionally, the statement reveals that during the 2018-19 flu season, CDC data show only 45.3% of U.S. adults and 62.6% of children (ages 6 months to 17 years) received the flu vaccine. Virginians exceeded the national average for adults at 50.6% and children at 69.6% in getting the vaccine.

“Everyone in Virginia should receive an annual flu vaccine. This includes people in heavily populated cities and counties and people who live in rural towns and hamlets,” the statement continues.

To support this effort, the ride-sharing company Lyft is offering “ride credits” to people when they travel to get a flu shot. Virginians can use the code “VAFIGHTSFLU” for rides to and from vaccination sites. Ride credits will be available until Dec. 31, 2020, and additional terms may apply.

A public service announcement encouraging Virginians to get a flu shot can be viewed here. The full statement can be read here.

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