Ottawa County Department of Public Health Encourages Flu Vaccinations during National Influenza Vaccination Week


MEDIA RELEASE  I  December 7, 2021

Media Contact: Alison Clark, Communications Specialist | 616-494-5597

Ottawa County Department of Public Health Encourages Flu Vaccinations during National Influenza Vaccination Week

(HOLLAND, MI.) – The Ottawa County Department of Public Health (OCDPH) is encouraging all residents to receive their annual influenza (flu) vaccine in recognition of National Influenza Vaccination Week, being observed December 5 – 11. The flu vaccine is available to anyone six months of age or older and can reduce the risk of illness and the potentially serious consequences of the flu. In addition, anyone age five or older can receive their COVID-19 vaccine or booster shot at the same time they receive the flu vaccine.

Flu activity is currently low in Ottawa County, but it is increasing and is expected to rise as the typical flu season commonly peaks in February. COVID-19 prevention strategies in place in 2020 may have prevented many of the cases normally seen by the OCDPH. With those prevention strategies now being practiced on a more limited basis, it is likely the number of flu cases will continue to rise. Notably, immune protection against the flu decreases over time, so it is possible that many people may have reduced immunity to the flu this season as well.

“As the holiday season approaches and people gather or travel, the potential for the spread of the flu virus increases. Vaccination against the flu is even more important this year as our local hospitals struggle to maintain care for all health care needs during the current COVID-19 surge we’re experiencing in Ottawa County,” said Lisa Stefanovsky, Administrative Health Officer.

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.

Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body approximately two weeks after vaccination to help protect you from flu viruses. If someone does become ill with the flu, being vaccinated can cause illness symptoms to be milder and the length of illness to be shorter.

“Be sure to cover coughs and sneezes, sanitize surfaces, practice good hand hygiene and use hand sanitizer when washing isn’t possible, said Toni Bulthuis, Immunizations Supervisor. “In addition to those practices, vaccines are the most effective way to protect yourself. The flu vaccine does not cause influenza infection.”

In addition, community members can help prevent the spread of the flu by wearing a face mask in indoor public settings, staying home when sick and avoiding contact with others who may be sick.

Flu vaccinations are available from healthcare providers and pharmacies. Residents are encouraged to call their primary care physician or local pharmacy for vaccine availability and appointments.

COVID-19 vaccination and booster appointments for anyone aged five and older can be found by visiting

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

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