Wood County, Wisconsin

Official Website

User Icon Login

Immunizations for Three Seasonal Respiratory Viruses

Posted 10/3/2023 by Kristie.Egge@woodcountywi.gov


DATE: October 3, 2023

CONTACT: Susan Smith, Wood County Health Department Director/Health Officer

(715) 421-8911

Immunizations for Three Seasonal Respiratory Viruses:

COVID-19, Influenza, and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)

Wisconsin Rapids, WI – This is the first fall and winter virus season where vaccines are available for the three viruses responsible for severe illness and hospitalizations. The triple threat of respiratory viruses that includes influenza (flu), Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), and COVID-19 have the potential to spread quickly in crowded classrooms, across workplaces, indoor gatherings, and later in the winter during the holidays. Individuals at highest risk include adults over sixty years of age, people with chronic health conditions, young children, and people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised. Fortunately, vaccines and treatments can protect each of these illnesses. Make a plan to get vaccinated against respiratory infections this fall.

This year’s flu vaccine protects against the four influenza viruses that are likely most common during the upcoming season. Routine annual flu vaccination is recommended for everyone six months and older to reduce the risk of severe illness and hospitalizations. People 65 years and older may be at higher risk of developing serious complications from flu.

New RSV vaccines for older adults and pregnant women and an antibody therapy for infants provide options for preventing severe RSV infection. The vaccine is available to adults 60 years and older and pregnant individuals between 32 weeks and 36 weeks of pregnancy; monoclonal antibodies are available to infants and children up to 24 months who remain vulnerable to severe RSV disease. Individuals should talk to their healthcare provider and request this added protection against RSV this season.

COVID-19 cases are on the rise in Wisconsin. Antiviral medications, at-home test kits, and other preventative measures make it a more manageable disease and are widely available in Wood County. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has recently approved two new COVID-19 vaccines. The vaccines are recommended for everyone six months and older to provide enhanced protection against the COVID-19 variants currently responsible for most infections and hospitalizations. 

Most individuals can still get a COVID-19 vaccine for free. For people with health insurance, most plans will cover the COVID-19 vaccine; uninsured or underinsured adults may get a free vaccine from local health centers, state, local, tribal, or territorial health departments, and pharmacies participating in the CDC’s Bridge Access Program (BAP). Children eligible for the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program may receive the vaccine from a provider enrolled in that program. COVID-19 vaccines for eligible individuals will be available at regularly scheduled Wood County Health Department (WCHD) immunization clinics. WCHD participates in both the BAP and VFC programs. 

Households are again able to order four free tests through COVIDTests.gov. These tests will detect the currently circulating COVID-19 variants. People are encouraged to use the free tests immediately as Americans prepare for travel and gatherings with friends and family throughout the 2023 holiday season. Free home tests are also available for pick-up at the WCHD and Wood County libraries while supplies last. Before you throw out “expired” tests: Check to see if your COVID-19 tests' expiration dates have been extended.

Find a flu or COVID vaccine near you: www.vaccines.gov/

Find up-to-date information about the flu, RSV, and COVID-19 on the DHS website: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/news/releases/091323.htm

# # #