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Health professionals urge local residents to get their flu shots

Local health officials are trying to get the word out about the need for people to get their flu shots.

Monroe County Commissioner of Public Health, Dr. Michael Mendoza said on Thursday that it’s especially critical this year, since the community is dealing with the twin challenges of COVID-19, and the regular flu season.

Mendoza is hoping even more people get the flu vaccine than usual.

“We know that every year only about half of our community gets the flu shot, and I do believe that in light of the challenges before us, I think this year, we can do even better,” Mendoza said.

Mendoza and other health professionals said that another reason for getting more people vaccinated, is so that the local health system is not strained by having to deal with both COVID and flu patients.

Dr. Michael Apostolakos is Chief Medical Officer at Strong and Highland hospitals. He said that with COVID-19 still around, it’s important to minimize the number of hospitalizations that may be needed because of the flu.

“The symptoms of flu and COVID are very similar and it’s going to be hard to tell the difference. And the less disease we have, the easier it will be to care for patients and the community as a whole,” Apostolakos said.

Dr. Robert Mayo is Chief Medical Officer at Rochester Regional Health. He noted that, “Last season, more than 750 Monroe County residents were hospitalized because of the flu, and our community recorded nearly 6,000 confirmed cases. Getting your flu shot is one of the best things you can do right now to preserve critical resources and help our health care workers and first responders.”

The health care professionals note that flu shots are readily available at primary care offices, pharmacies and there are several public clinics scheduled throughout the fall. For a listing of clinics go to:

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.