The CDC, along with other health researchers, are urging citizens to get their seasonal flu shots. Along with the usual recommendations for the flu vaccine, the CDC added a change which is different from their recommendation for other vaccines: the flu vaccine is safe to be administered alongside the COVID vaccine. However, other vaccines cannot be administered within a 2-week window before or after the COVID vaccine.
The CDC is urging everyone to get their flu vaccine as flu season nears, especially while strains of the coronavirus are still at large. Hospitals are overwhelmed with patients, sometimes even having to turn away patients because of the scarcity of beds due to COVID. Getting your flu vaccine can help prevent further strain on hospitals.
Dr. Emil Lesho, an infectious disease specialist at Rochester Regional Health, states that it is more important as the healthcare industry is continuing to have staffing shortages as well. “Emergency room volumes are up, and waiting times are up[…]Anything you can do to minimize the need for additional healthcare that could be preventable is very important,” Lesho stated in regards to getting a flu vaccine.
Lisa A.Grohskopf, MD, medical officer in the CDC’s Influenza Division, said in an interview that “We believe flu vaccination is very important in the context of ongoing COVID-19 activity, we are seeing the return of other common respiratory viruses, so we anticipate that we will experience an annual epidemic of flu this season as we do during most winters,”
She also reiterates that a surge of influenza infections could overwhelm hospitals. Due to the implementation of masks and more frequent precautions, flu activity last year was low; the same precautions should be taken this year as well to help continue this.
Overall, the universal recommendations for the flu vaccine have also remained unchanged: a routine annual influenza vaccination for all people who are at least 6 months of age without any underlying health conditions.