Flu Shots Due to Covid-19
As the spread of Covid-19 continues to make headlines, the flu season is imminent, and doctors are worried about battling both these issues at the same time. Doctors are worried that if the imminent flu season is severe, it will only aggravate an already difficult situation.
There are signs predicting that Influenza will be a much bigger problem this year compared to last year. As it is, the call for people to get Influenza shots is getting eclipsed by the drive to get more people immunized against Covid-19.
When Does the Flu Season Start?
As per the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), this year, the flu season will start in October. The influenza virus circulates all year round, but most of the time, flu activity peaks between December and February and can last up to May.
The general impact of the Flu (infections, hospitalizations, and deaths) varies from season to season. The CDC says it amasses, compiles, and examines data on influenza all year in the US. The CDC produces a weekly investigation report, FluView and FluView Interactive, a more in-depth analysis of influenza surveillance data.
What Are Doctors Saying Around the Country?
In Colorado Springs, Dr. Richard Vu of the Mathews Vu Medical Group says that his staff have been giving out concurrent doses for Covid-19 and Influenza for a couple of days now.
The CDC recommends that people get the Influenza shot in September and October, basically before the start of the flu season in the community.”
He goes on to explain that when COVID vaccines were initially circulated across the US, medical practitioners were much more cautious and encouraged patients to wait for about two weeks before getting their second dose of the vaccine. That endorsement has since changed.
In El Paso County, the Public Health Director Dr. Robin Johnson said that it takes the human body two weeks to build up antibodies after receiving a vaccine. Therefore, he is encouraging people not to wait to get the flu shot.
Dr. Obie McNair, a Physician at CMHS (Central Mississippi Health Services), says, “Priority number one to get jabbed for Covid-19, priority number two is to get the flu vaccine.”
Dr. McNair continues to explain that fewer Flu cases were reported last year compared to other years. He strongly believes this is mainly due to people wearing masks. “One of the surprising benefits we saw last year with people wearing masks is that we had a decrease in flu transmission. So we’re still encouraging people to continue wearing masks.”
Another physician at CMHS, Dr. Shardale McAfee, says A mask keeps the virus out of your eyes, out of your nose, and out of your mouth. It also keeps you from touching your face so often. So if we can stop that as well do it for a little longer, we’re trying to get there.”
Dr. Todd Fristo of Saint Luke’s Health in Kansas says we could potentially see someone who has contracted COVID get influenza on top of that. We can’t confirm this because we didn’t see a lot last year, but this is a concern because COVID is different from any virus we’ve ever seen.”
Dr. Fristo says he didn’t encounter many cases of the Flu last year. However, he credits this to social distancing and people wearing masks and indicates this is a different year altogether. Nonetheless, he continues to say that the Influenza virus has not gone away, and it’s not going away. It’s still a potentially severe condition.
Is The Federal Government Taking Any Action?
The Federal Government via the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has approved emergency use for a booster dose for COVID. A CDC panel voted to endorse the booster shot for Americans aged 65 years and above, nursing home occupants, and grownups between 50 and 64 years.
A flu outbreak on top of Covid-19 would further strain an already overwhelmed healthcare system. The flu vaccine is available, and it’s approved for persons aged six months and above.
The Federal Government has also confirmed that it’s safe for people to get vaccinated for the Flu and Covid-19 during the same visit. It’s for this reason that doctors are pushing for people to get their flu shots.