Baltimore, MD – In a bid to safeguard public health during the fall and winter seasons, the Maryland Department of Health has expanded its statewide public awareness campaign, urging residents to prioritize vaccinations against COVID-19, the flu, and RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus). The initiative, titled “Vaccinate. Prevent. Protect.,” aims to inform Marylanders about the importance of immunization in the face of the triple viral threat.
The campaign utilizes a comprehensive approach, incorporating radio promotions in English and Spanish and digital messaging across various platforms, including the Department’s X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, and Instagram accounts. Secretary Laura Herrera Scott emphasizes the urgency of updating COVID-19 and flu vaccines, underscoring their availability to the general public.
“The updated COVID-19 vaccines, as are this year’s annual flu vaccine, are now widely available. We urge all Marylanders to get these two vaccines as soon as possible to be protected for the upcoming months,” Secretary Laura Herrera Scott stated. Additionally, she expressed excitement about the introduction of RSV vaccines and antibody treatments designed to safeguard vulnerable populations, including older adults, pregnant women, and newborns, against severe RSV infections.
The COVID-19 vaccines, approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on September 12, from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, target the evolving omicron variants. Marylanders aged 6 months and older are eligible if it has been at least two months since their last COVID-19 vaccine, while those aged 5 and older can receive the updated COVID-19 vaccine, even if they haven’t been vaccinated before.
Annual flu vaccines are also widely available at pharmacies, local health department clinics, and healthcare providers’ offices. The CDC assures the safety and convenience of simultaneously receiving COVID-19 and flu vaccines.
For Marylanders aged 60 and older, a new RSV vaccine is now available, reducing the risk of severe illness from the respiratory virus. Also, pregnant women in their third trimester can access a new vaccine to protect newborns and a monoclonal antibody treatment for at-risk infants.
Deputy Secretary for Public Health Services, Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman, emphasizes the need for preventive measures as respiratory virus cases, particularly COVID-19, rise. “We urge people to take steps to prevent transmission of illness and continue to use the measures we have learned to protect against COVID, flu, and RSV, especially vaccination,” said Dr. Kalyanaraman.
For further information on protecting against COVID-19, flu, and RSV, Maryland residents can visit health.maryland.gov/pha. Additionally, vaccines.gov provides a comprehensive listing of COVID-19 and flu shot sites near them. As the state braces for the approaching respiratory virus season, the Department of Health’s campaign stands as a crucial pillar in promoting public health and community well-being.