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Getting your flu shot may be more important than ever this year

September 8, 2020
Doctor gives a shot to a woman
The more people who get vaccinated for the flu, the better for all of us, especially those most vulnerable to complications.

This year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it may be more important than ever to get the influenza vaccine. That’s because flu season combined with the COVID-19 pandemic could lead to more deaths and serious health issues for individuals and families across the country  

“This is a good time for anyone who may be delaying care to get back to their doctor and make sure they’re current on immunizations and get their flu shot in the same visit,” says Shaun Harper, MD, chief medical officer for PeaceHealth Medical Group. “For kids, a flu shot should be included in any back-to-school physical or checkup.” 

The flu vaccine will not protect you against COVID-19, but it will reduce your risk of getting the flu, being hospitalized and possibly dying from it – or potentially spreading it to others. It will also reduce the burden on hospitals and conserve resources needed to care for people with COVID-19.  

“This spring, our communities really stepped up and took the actions needed to flatten the COVID-19 curve. We need the same partnership when it comes to getting the flu vaccine this fall. The more people who get vaccinated, the better for us all. We’re all still in this together,” says Dr. Harper 

The CDC recommends that everyone six months and older get the flu vaccine by the end of October. 

Vaccination is especially important for people who are at high risk for serious flu complications. This includes young children, pregnant women, people with certain chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease, and people 65 years and older. Many people at higher risk for flu also seem to be at higher risk for COVID-19. 

Flu vaccination manufacturers are expected to produce a record number of vaccines this year – up to 198 million doses.   

If you are at higher risk for flu and get flu symptoms, call your doctor immediately so you can be treated with flu antivirals, if needed. Antivirals work best when taken within two days of becoming sick. (source: CDC)