There are multiple reasons that people might think they don’t need to get a flu shot this year. For one thing, there’s still a lot of social distancing and masking taking place, so it may seem less likely that you’ll catch the flu. Plus, many people have been vaccinated for COVID-19 and may mistakenly believe that this gives them immunity to the flu — that’s not true, but the confusion persists.
However, Baptist Health and other health experts are strongly encouraging everyone to get a flu shot. It’s important every year, and particularly this year, as is explained below.
The Flu Can Be Deadly
One of the reasons that you should get a flu shot is that the flu is a serious respiratory illness that kills around 40,000 people during the typical flu season. You may believe, based on experience, that you’re unlikely to catch the flu or that if you do, your symptoms will be mild, but each year’s flu bug is different, so it’s best to be safe and get vaccinated.
Help the Healthcare System Help You — and Others
When the number of COVID-19 cases has peaked at various times during the pandemic, the healthcare system has — in some instances in some locations — been overwhelmed. While cases appear to be declining in much of the country, the combination of COVID-19 and flu cases pose a serious threat to the healthcare system in the months ahead.
By getting vaccinated against the flu, you increase the chances that you won’t need medical care or need to be hospitalized — and, hopefully, won’t get sick at all. That means that you’ve essentially freed a hospital bed for someone else.
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When to Get Your Flu Shot
You should get your flu shot as soon as possible. The vaccine is now widely available. It would be unfortunate to contract the flu now because you decided to schedule your vaccination for a week or two down the road.
You Can Get COVID-19 and Flu Vaccines at the Same Time
Research has shown that it’s safe and effective to get a COVID-19 vaccination (first or second shot for two-shot regimens) or a booster shot at the same time that you get a flu shot. And getting both shots in the same visit to your healthcare provider, pharmacy, or other vaccination site saves you time.
Plus, it doesn’t appear that people who get both shots on the same day have increased side effects as compared to people who get the shots on different days. And the side effects from both vaccines are typically mild.
Don’t the Delta Variant or Other Concerns Stop You
COVID-19 and flu vaccines are administered in carefully controlled, safe environments using practices that greatly reduce the risk of disease transmission. So, you can be confident that the only thing you leave the vaccine administration site with is the beginnings of strong immunity!
Next Steps and Useful Resources: