News Release - Flu Vaccinations


October 11, 2021 | For Immediate Release

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Ottawa County Department of Public Health

Encourages Flu Vaccination 

Citizens are encouraged to vaccinate by the end of November

(HOLLAND, MI.) - As the 2021-2022 influenza (flu) season gets underway in West Michigan, the Ottawa County Department of Public Health (OCDPH) is encouraging flu vaccinations for everyone six months of age or older, by the end of November, to reduce the risk of illness and its potentially serious complications. The flu can cause mild to severe illness, and in some cases, lead to death. OCDPH expects to see an increase in the number of flu cases this year compared to 2020, due to relaxed COVID-19 prevention strategies.

Flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses, circulating in the air, that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at higher risk of serious flu complications. Flu symptoms can include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Stomach issues including nausea, vomiting and diarrhea can rarely occur in cases involving young children.

“Be sure to cover your coughs and sneezes, sanitize surfaces, wash your hands and use hand sanitizer when washing isn’t possible, said Toni Bulthuis, Immunizations Supervisor at the Ottawa County Department of Public Health. “In addition to those practices, vaccines are the most effective way to protect yourself. We highly encourage getting a flu shot in the fall, especially during the months of October and November. The flu vaccine does not cause influenza infection.”

COVID-19 prevention strategies in place in 2020 prevented many of the cases normally seen by the OCDPH.

“With the heightened awareness of disease prevention measures including masking, hand washing, staying home when ill, and physical distancing over the last 18 months, we saw very little flu activity,” said Derick Chia, Epidemiologist at the Ottawa County Department of Public Health. “COVID-19 prevention strategies were also effective in reducing cases of other respiratory and air-borne illnesses like flu.”

Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body approximately two weeks after vaccination to help protect you from flu viruses circulating in the air. Vaccinations are available from health care providers and pharmacies. Residents are encouraged to call their primary care physician or local pharmacy for vaccine availability and appointments.

For more information visit or call 616 396-5266. Follow us on Facebook @miOttawaHealth or twitter @miOCDPH. Check out OCDPH's seasonal influenza surveillance reports at