Vax Facts: What You Should Know About Flu and COVID-19 Vaccines

Flu season is quickly approaching, and the Delta variant is causing COVID-19 to spread in communities across the coast. Our communities are at risk for severe complications from flu and COVID-19 that can lead to hospitalization–and even death. Vaccination is a safe and effective way to protect yourself and your family from serious illness caused by flu or COVID-19.

You can get vaccinated for flu and COVID-19 at the same time. Getting both vaccinations on the same day does increase the risk of arm redness and soreness, but these reactions are mild and go away fairly quickly.

 You can use this information to help you make a decision about getting vaccinated for flu and COVID. We also suggest talking to a doctor, nurse, or other trusted healthcare professional if you have questions about either vaccine.

Why is Getting Vaccinated Important for Our Community?

Over the last 10 flu seasons, the hospitalization rate for flu among Black Americans has been higher than any other group. And nationwide, Black people have died from COVID-19 at rate that is 1.4 times than their white counterparts.

Why is this Flu Season Different?

Last year, there were fewer flu cases than normal because most of us were wearing masks, staying home, and keeping a safe social distance to stop the spread of COVID-19. This could result in an early and possibly more severe flu season this year.

Antibodies that protect against flu also wane over time, so antibodies we developed from getting a flu vaccine last year’s season would have waned by the time this year’s flu season begins. That’s why we need to get a flu vaccine every year.

Can I Get Vaccinated If I Am Pregnant or Breastfeeding?

Getting vaccinations for flu and COVID-19 is the best way to protect yourself, your baby, and your loved ones against flu, COVID-19, and the potentially serious complications from these illnesses. A number of studies have shown a flu vaccine given during pregnancy helps protect the baby from flu for several months after birth.

COVID-19 vaccines cannot cause infection in anyone, including a mother or their baby. The vaccines are effective at preventing COVID-19 in people who are breastfeeding. Recent reports have shown breastfeedng mothers who have received mRNA COVID-19 vaccines have antibodies in their breastmilk, which could help protect their babies.

If you have questions about how the flu or COVID vaccine might affect your baby, you should talk to your obstetrician or your child’s pediatrician.

Locations with Free Flu and COVID-19 Vaccinations

The following locations will be distributing free flu vaccinations while they have supplies. For more information, call the location to confirm they have vaccinations and make an appointment to get your flu shot.

Bethesda Free Clinic

6912 N, Washington Avenue
Ocean Springs, MS 39564
(228) 818-9191

Bethel Free Health Clinic

1650 Carrol Drive
Biloxi, MS 39531
(228) 594-3640

Coastal Family Health Center

(13 locations across the Gulf Coast)
1046 Division St
Biloxi, MS 39530
(877) 374-4991

Gulf Coast Community Ministries

3916 15th Street
Gulfport, MS 39503
(228) 868-8202

Hancock County Health Department

856 Highway 90
Bay St. Louis, MS 39520-8602
(228) 467-4510

Harrison County Health Department

1102 45th Avenue
Gulfport, MS 39501
(228) 863-1036

Jackson County Health Department

4600 Lt. Eugene J. Majure Drive
Pascagoula, MS 39581
(228) 762-1117

Volunteers in Medicine

2550 Indian Point Parkway
Gautier, MS 39553
(228) 497-9713