Don’t wait on flu shots in 2020

Flu season is coming soon, and Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services (SCES) is urging older adults to get vaccinated before the end of October.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 50 to 70 percent of flu-related hospitalizations in recent years occurred among people age 65 and over, with more than 70 percent of flu-related deaths occurring in that age group.

“Older adults are at much higher risk for potentially life-threatening complications from the seasonal flu,” said SCES Assistant Director Annie Fowler. “We think it’s critically important that older adults get vaccinated, and we are doing everything we can to connect older adults with resources that can help.”

Here are a few local resources to help get vaccinated:

In Home Shots The City of Somerville is offering in-home flu shots for people who are homebound, while supplies last. To receive a shot, contact Somerville Public Health Nurse Manager Sara Harris at or 857-523-1150. The city is requiring that applicants get written orders from their Primary Care Physician to ensure there is no contraindication in a person’s medical history that they shouldn’t receive a vaccine. Orders can be faxed to Harris at 617-591-3229.

Find a Shot The CDC is recommending the website to help find local vaccine locations, such as doctor offices and pharmacies. The SCES Aging Information Center is also happy to help older adults from Cambridge and Somerville find a vaccine close to them. The Aging Information Center can be reached by calling 617-628-2601 or emailing

The CDC is recommending that everyone over the age of six months be vaccinated for the seasonal flu by the end of October. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is requiring flu vaccination for all school-aged children and urging adults to do likewise, citing the need to conserve hospital resources for a possible resurgence in COVID-19 hospitalizations this fall and winter.

“Every year, thousands of people of all ages are affected by influenza, leading to many hospitalizations and deaths,” said Dr. Larry Madoff, Medical Director, DPH’s Bureau of Infectious Disease and Laboratory Sciences. “It is more important now than ever to get a flu vaccine because flu symptoms are very similar to those of COVID-19 and preventing the flu will save lives and preserve healthcare resources.”

According to CDC data, there were 35 million cases of seasonal flu in the United States last year, leading to 490,561 hospitalizations and 34,157 deaths.

Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services (SCES) is a non-profit agency that supports the independence and well-being of older adults in Somerville and Cambridge. For free advice and guidance on questions of aging, caregiving or disability, contact our Aging Information Center at 617-628-2601 or