New Jacksonville Flu Vaccine Program Aims To Help City’s Underserved, Uninsured

Sep 9, 2020

The city of Jacksonville is partnering with the Duval County Medical Society to launch FluVaxJax, a campaign to get more people vaccinated ahead of flu season. 

According to the Florida Department of Health, the flu season typically lasts from October until May. 

“In a normal year, the First Coast has about a 37% adult vaccination rate,” said Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Wednesday morning. “With the FluVaxJax campaign, we hope to increase the adult flu vaccination rate to 48% or more.”

Curry said while many don’t realize it, the hospitals are closest to full capacity during a typical flu season. 

“Both of these - COVID-19 and the flu season - if we don't pay attention to this and do what we can to mitigate it, it can create real stress on our hospitals and our health care workers,” Curry said.  

Alongside Curry was Dr.  Sunil Joshi, the president of the Duval County Medical Society.

He said hospitals’ major concerns are overloading with patients who have the flu in the fall, while still dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We want to do whatever we can to keep people out of the hospital,” Joshi said. “And the one way that we can do that regarding the flu is to promote the flu vaccine.” 

The campaign’s website has resources for people to get signed up for the flu vaccine, or donate to the cause and help pay for flu vaccine vouchers as it continues over the next few months. 

Joshi says a focus for the campaign is to get into underserved communities and help out the nearly 100,000 people who are uninsured in the county. 

“These are also the folks that are more likely to get the flu [and] less likely to have the flu vaccine and more likely to be in the hospital, so we’ve targeted certain parts of town and certain areas where we will be doing outreach,” Joshi said. 

Uninsured people are encouraged to fill out the form on the FluVaxJax page, where they can put in contact information and be informed of a place where they can potentially get a free vaccine voucher. 

A city spokesperson told WJCT News that the city won’t be contributing any money to the campaign. 

Sky Lebron can be reached at slebron@wjct.org, 904-358-6319 or on Twitter at @SkylerLebron.