CDC director visits Dallas to encourage vaccinations – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
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As part of a nationwide tour to spread awareness about the respiratory viruses that spread each winter, CDC Director Dr. Mandy Cohen made a stop in Dallas Friday, taking a firsthand look at local efforts to protect the community.
Alongside Health Director Dr. Philip Huang, County Judge Clay Jenkins and Congresswoman Jasmine Crockett, Cohen toured the immunization clinic at Dallas County Health and Human Services as part of the agency’s nationwide tour to encourage vaccines amid a surge in skepticism.
She praised the county’s use of incentivizing shots with Walmart gift cards as one of several ways communities are celebrating vaccinations. Cohen also shared her own story, as a mom, of choosing to vaccinate her daughters for the flu and COVID, saying the data suggests vaccination is better than the risks of illness, especially among children.
“I hope folks that will at least take the time to ask good questions. And I think for those communities that have more questions, that’s ok. It’s ok to have questions. Talk with your doctor. Talk with others that you trust. Talk with leaders who are in your community every day and get yourself protected,” said Cohen.
For now, cases of the flu remain low across the country and the number of people hospitalized in the region remains stable.
Cohen said the current surge in cases of RSV, which is overwhelming North Texas pediatric hospitals, is on schedule and typically begins in the south before spreading to the rest of the country.
This week, the CDC expedited the release of 77,000 additional doses of a new RSV drug for infants following a shortage.
With spikes in flu and COVID cases expected to follow, Cohen said the federal government continues to work to reach communities where fewer people seek protection.
“I have joined the Conference of National Black Churches as a partner in getting folks vaccinated and sharing good information. I think trust is foundational, making sure that we are meeting folks where they are at whether they’re at church or a community center but also making sure that we have leaders in that community who are talking with folks about how to protect them,” she said.
Dallas County currently offers flu, COVID vaccines and RSV vaccines for pregnant women. For information about eligibility and locations, visit dallascounty.org.
Cohen also encouraged people with COVID symptoms to test ahead of Thanksgiving gatherings.
Tips for Avoiding the Flu
- Get a flu vaccine every season, especially people at high risk
- Wash your hands often with soap and water
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Stay home when you are sick
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
- If you’re experiencing flu symptoms, visit your doctor and begin taking antiviral medications to help you recover more quickly
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