Doctors: Important Year to Get Your Flu Shot
Local clinics are now offering influenza vaccines. Doctors say it’s more important now than ever to get your flu shot due to COVID-19.
Dr. Frank Rhame, an infectious disease specialist at Allina Health, said even with the flu shot you can still get the flu or COVID-19. But, it could reduce the severity of the illnesses. He said both the flu and COVID-19 target the respiratory system, so if you get them at the same time or have one after the other, it could be harder to recover.
Dr. Rhame said the second reason to get a flu shot this year is because there’s limited supply of COVID-19 testing.
“When you present influenza-like illness, I really can’t tell if it’s influenza or COVID,” Dr. Rhame explained. “And so I’ve got to do a COVID test on you.
“If there’s a lot of people with influenza-like illness getting COVID tests who actually have influenza, then we’re wasting a lot of tests on influenza patients. And we don’t have enough COVID tests to go around. The less influenza-like illnesses that go around, the less we’ll likely divert needed COVID testing to those folks,” said Rhame.
While it’s hard to know when influenza gets here, doctors say it’s usually around December or January. Last year, it came as early as November. Rhame is advising people to get influenza vaccines by the end of October.
Since we’re still in the middle of a global pandemic, Allina Health is asking people to make an appointment for their flu shot. Pre-COVID, clients were allowed to just walk in.