Public Health Directors: Get vaccinated for a healthy holiday season

Published on October 30, 2023

Health Dept and Regional Release logo 2023

Regional News Release: October 30, 2023

Protect yourself and your family with flu and COVID-19 vaccines

The region’s public health directors are encouraging Kansas City metropolitan residents to get their flu and COVID-19 vaccinations to help reduce the risk of serious illness this coming holiday season.

“Now is a great time to get your flu and COVID-19 vaccinations,” said Andrew Warlen, MPH, director of the Platte County Health Department. “These vaccines significantly lower your risk of getting very sick, being hospitalized or dying from COVID-19 or flu. Getting vaccinated is a small but important step we can all take. Plus, you can get both vaccines at once.”

Residents can find flu and COVID-19 vaccines by checking in with their health care provider, local pharmacy or local public health department. Vaccine information can also be found at or

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all eligible adults and children aged 6 months and older stay up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccines, which are designed to protect against the latest variants. For flu, all persons aged 6 months and older, with rare exception, are recommended for annual flu vaccination. Check your eligibility:

COVID-19 vaccines are still covered at no cost for most people living in the U.S. through their private health insurance, Medicare and Medicaid plans. People without insurance can get COVID-19 vaccines through the CDC’s Bridge Access Program and the Vaccines for Children program. The Bridge Access Program offers COVID-19 vaccines at no cost to adults 18 years and older without health insurance and adults with insurance that does not offer no-cost COVID-19 vaccines. The Vaccines for Children program offers COVID-19 vaccines at no cost for children who do not have health insurance, are underinsured or who otherwise qualify for the program. The availability of the COVID-19 vaccine may vary. 

Please note: While most people will not be charged for the cost of the COVID-19 vaccine itself, an administration fee might apply. People who are eligible for the Bridge Access Program or Vaccines for Children program cannot be denied access to the vaccine if they are unable to pay the administration fee.

“It’s also flu season and we will likely see the number of cases rise through fall and the coming winter,” said Charlie Hunt, MPH, director of the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment. “Protect yourself and your loved ones by getting a flu shot. The flu vaccine is especially important for young children, adults 65 and older, pregnant women and people with chronic health conditions because they are at higher risk of flu complications.”

In addition to getting vaccinated, experts also encourage residents to take the following steps this holiday season:

  • Wash hands frequently.
  • Stay home if sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are ill.
  • Keep at-home COVID-19 tests on hand, and take a test if you are sick. If you have not yet ordered test kits for your household, order free at-home COVID-19 tests at As of Sept. 25, 2023, every U.S. household can again place an order to receive four more free COVID-19 rapid tests delivered directly to their home.