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Is a 'twindemic' on the horizon? Experts warn of brutal flu season as COVID-19 still spreads. Here are 8 things to know about getting your flu shot

Angie Leventis Lourgos, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Health & Fitness

For those over 12, it’s important to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and the flu, to keep both illnesses to a minimum.

“Please get vaccinated for the flu and COVID-19 — please,” Michelson said. “It is important for you, for the children and for everyone.”

She added that babies under 6 months old can’t get flu shots, so it’s important that adults and children do so to help keep infants healthy.

“So the more adults who get vaccinated, the less likely it will be for vulnerable babies under 6 months to get the flu,” she said. “So another reason why everyone should get vaccinated is to help protect infants (under) 6 months old.”

5. Flu vaccines are particularly important this season to keep from overwhelming hospitals.

In many parts of the country, hospitals are already overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients. The southernmost region in Illinois this week reported no available ICU beds this week, due to surging COVID-19 rates.

 

“We are hearing reports that people are not able to get the care they need,” Michelson said. “Anything we can do to keep people out of the hospital will be helpful. This is another important reason for people to get the flu vaccine.”

6. Flu vaccination rates are generally not that great.

Fewer than half of American adults typically get the flu shot each year, according to the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. The nonprofit organization commissioned a survey last year, and found that 59% of adults polled planned to get the influenza vaccine during the 2020-2021 flu season, an increase from 52% the previous year.

Of those who were unsure or not planning to get vaccinated, 34% did not believe the flu vaccine worked well, 32% said they never got the flu, 29% were concerned about potential side effects and 22% said they were worried about catching the flu from the immunization — though that’s not possible. Flu shots are made from either the inactivated virus or a single protein from the virus, and cannot cause illness, according to the CDC.

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