MILWAUKEE— Healthcare providers are offering more options for families to receive a flu vaccination this flu season. Many will operate drive-thru flu clinics that do not require patients to leave their cars.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends everyone six months and older should get a flu vaccine. 

People 65 years and older and adults with chronic health conditions, such as asthma, heart disease and stroke, diabetes and chronic kidney disease, are at a high risk of developing serious complications from flu compared to young healthy adults. The most recent report from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services shows that during the 2019-2020 flu season, there were 36,175 cases of the flu in Wisconsin and 183 deaths.

Healthcare providers say this flu season it is more important than ever to get a flu vaccine since both influenza and COVID-19 are respiratory illnesses. Some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar; it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone. 

Testing may be needed to confirm a diagnosis. Getting vaccinated is not a guarantee you won't get the flu, but the shot can reduce the severity of the flu if infected.

“The Froedtert & MCW health network understands the importance of protecting our community, and we are making every effort to safely and effectively provide flu vaccinations to those who are interested and most in need,” says Jonathon Truwit, MD, enterprise chief medical officer, Froedtert Health and the Medical College of Wisconsin Health Network. “We offer many safe and convenient options for getting a flu shot including drive-thru clinics, availability at our pharmacies, through our FastCare® locations and at our Froedtert & MCW health centers. This is the first year we’re offering the drive-thru flu vaccine option and hope to expand this offering in the future," he says.

Ascension Wisconsin will also offer free flu vaccinations during October at both Ascension St. Jospeh Hospital and the Consulate of Mexico in Milwaukee. No appointment or insurance is required and translation services are available. 

Everyone attending for a flu shot must wear a mask or face covering.

Froedtert & the MCW Health Network will run drive-thru clinics in October for anyone over the age of six-years-old. Most insurance plans are accepted and patients do not have to be registered at Froedtert & MCW Health Network. Anyone attending must wear a mask and it is recommended you wear a short-sleeved shirt. Patients will be required to complete a vaccine consent form, which can be done ahead of time.

“Getting a vaccine is more important than ever this year to protect yourself, your family, friends and neighbors from the flu,” says Nichole Gladney, Ascension Wisconsin community services director. “Offering flu vaccinations free of charge for our most at-risk patients and residents in Milwaukee will help keep our community healthy and free up resources our healthcare systems need to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

To find a flu vaccine near you, click here.