Roll Up Your Sleeve: Getting Your Influenza Shot Helps Arizona Hospitals

State promoting vaccination to help reduce potential strain on healthcare system

Want to do even more to protect yourself, your loved ones, healthcare workers, first responders, and your community while COVID-19 continues to circulate in Arizona? Roll up your sleeve and get an influenza shot. 

The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) is launching a public awareness campaign – Roll Up Your Sleeve – to encourage people to get an influenza shot. It includes messages for healthcare workers, families with young children, college students, and people at high risk for serious complications from influenza. There’s also a new Roll Up Your Sleeve website featuring an influenza shot locator.  

“Education is crucial for any public health campaign,” said Governor Doug Ducey. “The influenza shot is the best way to protect yourself from the flu, while supporting our health care workers. If you don’t regularly get the influenza vaccine, this is the year to start.”

The influenza vaccine is already available, and the shot offers protection throughout the flu season. Even though influenza season usually peaks after New Year’s, it can begin earlier. Last influenza season, for example, hit earlier and harder than usual. 

“It’s not too early to get your influenza vaccine,” said Dr. Cara Christ, director of ADHS. “Every flu season, our hospitalizations increase due to influenza. Getting your flu shot will help prevent hospitalizations from influenza, keeping more hospital beds open.”

Roll Up Your Sleeve aims to reduce the chances of a potential one-two punch from influenza and COVID-19 cases that could strain healthcare resources.  

The spread and severity of an influenza season is predictably unpredictable, but the risk of severe complications are greatest among children younger than 5, those 65 and older, pregnant women, residents of long-term care facilities, and people with medical conditions such as asthma, chronic lung disease, and heart disease. 

In an average year, between 5% and 20% of Arizonans get influenza, leading to more than 4,000 hospitalizations and around 700 deaths. Among adults who are admitted to the hospital with influenza, those who have been vaccinated are around 60 percent less likely to have very severe illness resulting in intensive care admission.

For more information on influenza and to find a flu shot near you, visit azhealth.gov/RollUpYourSleeve.

Source: ADHS