Flu Shots During COVID: Why a Flu Shot Is More Important Now Than Ever
This year, it is more important than ever that we all are vaccinated against influenza (the flu). Flu shots are a key part of good preventive care every year, but in light of this year’s COVID-19 pandemic they are vitally important for individuals and the community at large.
Dispelling the Myth: a Flu Shot Won’t Make You Sick
Perhaps the most common misconception that prevents people from getting their yearly flu shot is that the vaccination can make them sick. Yes, the flu vaccine does contain a flu virus: but the virus is inactivated. You can’t “catch” the flu from a flu shot or nasal spray.
While some people may feel a bit run-down or even develop a low-grade fever after getting a flu shot, this isn’t the flu. It’s the anticipated response of the body’s immune system to the vaccine.
If Ever There Were a Year to Get the Flu Shot…
It’s 2020. There is currently no vaccine for the coronavirus, and many of the nation’s hospitals are overtaxed with caring for people who have developed COVID. According to Dr. Kate Kirley, family physician and director of chronic disease prevention for the American Medical Association, “Every year, influenza causes hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations and tens of thousands of deaths in the United States. We’re very concerned about it compounding the hospital capacity problems that we may see if we get more surges in the numbers of patients with COVID.”
Furthermore, Dr. Kirley says, getting a flu shot can help you prevent double trouble in the form of a dual diagnosis. It is “possible to get influenza and COVID at the same time, and then you really have that double whammy in terms of two significant respiratory illnesses.” The best way to protect yourself and the people around you is to get vaccinated.1
Ready for that Flu Shot?
If you have not been vaccinated against influenza, consider doing so before the end of October. The vaccine takes roughly two weeks to become active, so late October/early November is when the influenza virus starts to spread in our communities.
Banyan Health Systems can help. Feel free to visit any one of our convenient locations in Miami-Dade, or contact us for more information on the flu shot.
1 Solomon DA, Sherman AC, Kanjilal S. Influenza in the COVID-19 Era. JAMA. 2020;324(13):1342–1343. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.14661. Available: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2769676. Accessed October 9, 2020.