They say we could have the flu and COVID-19 circulating at the same time this fall.
Baltimore, Md (KM) With all of the concerns about COVID-19, health officials say we should not forget about getting our flu shots. Kurt Seeto, the Immunization Program Manager for the Center for Immunizations at the Maryland Department of Health, says getting vaccinated will help keep you out of the hospital. That will allow doctors, nurses and other medical professionals to concentrate on treating patients with the coronavirus.
“In the fall of 2020, there is a potential for influenza and COVID0-19 to be circulating simultaneously in the United States,” he says. “So what we want to do and what we’re trying to do is to potentially minimize the burden on the health care system due to respiratory diseases.”
Seeto says right now, there’s an abundant supply of flu vaccine for this year. “From what we’re being told, all of the flu manufacturers have really increased their production, and they’re expected to have almost 20-million more doses this year than they had last year,” he says.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the flu season usually takes place during the fall and winter, with much of the activity occurring from December through February, although there has been flu activity in May.
Even though it may seem a little early, Seeto says now is a good time to get vaccinated against influenza.
In Frederick County, the Health Department is offering the flu vaccine free of charge to children’ between six-months and 18-years of age whose families do not have health insurance, or their health insurance doesn’t cover immunizations, or are unable to get vaccinated by their health care provider. The vaccines will be administered Wednesdays from 8:00 AM until 3:30 PM at the Health Department on Montevue Lane . Appointments must be made. Cal 301-600-3342, and asks for the Immunization nurse to schedule an appointment.
The shots will also given out on Tuesday, October 20th form 9:00 AM until 7:00 Pm. visit marylandvax.org to sign for an appointment.
Face mask must worn for everyone five years old and older.
The Health Department says only the injectable vaccine will be offered, and it’s only for chidden. Adults who want to get the flu shot can visit any local pharmacy, or contact their health care provider.
Seeto says those most susceptible to contracting influenza are the very young, the elderly, pregnant women and those with chronic health problems.
The flu vaccine is different each year as manufacturers project what type of influenza strain will be circulating each year. But Seeto says it’s still a good idea to get a flu shot each year. “Although the flu vaccine is not 100% effective–we kind of already know that–the flu vaccine does reduce the severity of flu and so it does reduce hospitalizations,” he says. “That’s why we really do recommend people get vaccinated against the flu.”
By Kevin McManus