Providing flu vaccines for those most at-risk
Every year, nearly a half-million people are hospitalized with influenza. UW Medicine set up a vaccination program for people with higher-than-normal risk for flu and who seek care at hospitals' emergency departments. Care providers screen patients, and if they haven't been vaccinated for the flu, they're offered a shot.
Dr. Herbie Duber, an emergency medicine physician, emphasized the program's value during a pandemic. "We really worry that people who are at risk for poor outcomes, so those individuals who may have COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) or asthma, if they get influenza and COVID, that really sets up a deadly combination, so we need to do what we can on the prevention side to keep people from coming into our emergency department," he says.
The program includes the emergency departments at Harborview Medical Center and UW Medical Center – Montlake.