Health experts say flu shot still needed even if vaccinated against COVID; here’s what you need to know


Amid all of the concentrate on COVID-19 vaccinations, U.S. well being specialists have one other plea: Don’t skip your flu shot.

Flu circumstances have dropped to traditionally low ranges in the course of the pandemic. The U.S. and Europe skilled hardly any flu final winter, and the Southern Hemisphere simply ended its second flu season of the coronavirus pandemic with little to report.

However with U.S. colleges and companies reopened, worldwide journey resuming and much much less masking this fall, flu may make a comeback. The massive query is whether or not it can trickle in or roar again and put additional stress on hospitals already fighting COVID-19 surges.

“Persons are sick to dying of listening to about having to roll on out and get vaccines of any type,” mentioned flu specialist Richard Webby of St. Jude Kids’s Analysis Hospital in Memphis.

But after 18 months of little influenza publicity, “we most likely as a inhabitants don’t have as a lot immunity towards this virus as we sometimes may,” Webby mentioned. “It makes absolute sense to go on out and get that vaccine and not less than put together for one thing that, , may very well be fairly extreme.”

Listed here are some issues to know:

Q: Who ought to get a flu vaccine?

A: The Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention says nearly all people wants an annual flu vaccination, beginning with 6-month-old infants. Influenza is most harmful for adults over age 65, younger kids, pregnant girls and folks with sure well being circumstances, akin to coronary heart or lung illness.

Q: Why do I would like one this 12 months, since flu hasn’t been a menace in the course of the pandemic?

A: COVID-19 restrictions together with masking and staying dwelling — particularly for kids, who’re flu’s largest spreaders — clearly had a aspect advantage of tamping down influenza and different respiratory bugs. However as quickly as masks began to return off, the U.S. skilled an uncommon summer time surge of youngsters hospitalized with a unique virus, named RSV, that normally strikes within the winter. That’s a worrying signal of what to anticipate if flu returns.

Q: What’s the forecast for flu this winter?

A: Flu is notoriously tough to foretell. However there’s a bit extra circulating in some nations this fall than final, together with a current uptick in China, mentioned Webby, who directs a World Well being Group flu heart. And other people could also be a bit extra susceptible: Earlier than the pandemic, 15% to 30% of the inhabitants was uncovered to flu every year, a lacking bump in immunity, he mentioned.

“If flu does not less than get a foothold in, it’s going to have extra alternative of spreading this season,” he mentioned.

Q: When ought to I get a flu vaccine?

A: Now. The CDC encourages folks to get their vaccine by the top of October. Docs’ workplaces, retail pharmacies and native well being departments have hundreds of thousands of doses in hand. And most Individuals with medical health insurance can get it with no co-pay.

Q: I already bought a COVID-19 vaccine. Do I really want a flu shot, too?

A: COVID-19 vaccines forestall the coronavirus and flu vaccines forestall influenza. They don’t overlap. However you possibly can catch each viruses on the similar time, or one after the opposite.

“Keep away from the double whammy” and get each vaccines, suggested the American School of Emergency Physicians. For now, COVID-19 vaccines can be found for anybody 12 and older.

Flu vaccines aren’t as highly effective as vaccines towards another ailments but when folks do get influenza anyway, they have a tendency to have a a lot milder sickness.

Q: Can I get a flu vaccine and a COVID-19 vaccine on the similar go to?

A: Sure, the CDC says it’s tremendous to pair a flu vaccine with both a main COVID-19 shot or a booster dose.

Q: What’s the very best flu vaccine to get?

A: Flu always evolves, and every year’s vaccine is made to struggle the strains that worldwide specialists deem probably to flow into. This 12 months all of the flu vaccines provided within the U.S. provide safety towards all 4 of these strains. Choices embrace conventional photographs or a nasal spray vaccine. There are also photographs particularly designed to rev up seniors’ age-weakened immune programs, both with the next dose or an added immune booster. There are additionally choices for folks allergic to eggs, that are used to make some flu photographs.

Q: How a lot flu vaccine is on the market?

A: The CDC expects vaccine producers to ship 188 million to 200 million doses. Almost 194 million doses had been distributed final winter, a report. | Well being specialists say flu shot nonetheless wanted even when vaccinated towards COVID; right here’s what you have to know


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