Doctors urging people to roll up their sleeves again for flu shot

Posted at 2:50 PM, Sep 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-06 09:27:11-04

TAMPA, Fla — As Florida deals with the fallout of another COVID-19 surge, doctors are reminding everyone flu season is around the corner. The CDC warns this flu season could come earlier and be more severe since many people went without a flu shot last year.

"The virus is going to be present within the community, within our area and that's going to be true today and it's going to be true tomorrow," Dr. Gregory Baker with AdventHealth North Pinellas said.

Dr. Baker said he was referring to COVID-19 and the flu. We've seen case numbers for both fluctuate, but that doesn't mean you can let your guard down.

"When we were locked down our potential exposure to the virus was greatly reduced mostly because simply we weren't seeing as many people," Dr. Baker said. "So the potential chance of getting an infection is going to be much higher just because we're being more social."

According to the CDC, there's no issue with getting the flu vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccine in close proximity.

"The immune system should be able to decipher two different vaccines and appropriately mount a response to each one," he said.

In an FAQ on the agency's website, the CDC stated you could get both at the same time, if you'd prefer.

Dr. Baker says kids, teens, pregnant women and older adults should also add one more vaccine to their flu season checklist.

"Over the last five years, starting at about this time of the year, there's been an increase in incidents of whooping cough," Dr. Baker said.

Last year, medical experts were worried about a "twindemic." The situation that was possible if the nation saw high coronavirus case numbers and high flu case numbers that could overwhelm the health system.

At this point, Dr. Baker said there's no telling how bad it could get. Usually, flu season peaks in December but the CDC says it could begin earlier and that's why it's important to get vaccinated now. The CDC recommends getting the flu shot between now and the end of October.