NKY Health: Flu Vaccines More Important this Year with COVID-19
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic still impacting the region, the Northern Kentucky Health Department on Thursday strongly urged residents to get a flu shot as soon as possible.
“This year it is more important than ever to receive a flu vaccine,” said District Director of Health Dr. Lynne Saddler. “With both COVID-19 and flu circulating this fall and winter, we all need to get vaccinated against the flu now to protect ourselves and people around us. In addition, getting vaccinated can help to protect our health care system from becoming overwhelmed with caring for those who may become seriously ill from either COVID-19 or seasonal flu.”
It takes approximately two weeks after vaccination to build up enough immunity to fight off the flu virus, the health department said.
Symptoms of the flu and COVID-19 can be similar and may include but are not limited to fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, and tiredness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) outlined the similarities and differences here.
Flu shots are currently being offered in Northern Kentucky through health care providers, pharmacies, and clinics.
Current strategies that are being used to prevent the spread of COVID-19 also play an important role in preventing seasonal flu, the health department said. These include washing your hands frequently with soap and water, wearing a face covering whenever you are in public, maintaining social distancing of six feet, and avoiding others if you do get sick.
During the last flu season, 7,235 cases of the flu and 7 flu-associated deaths were reported in Northern Kentucky through the end of February 2020, but this does not predict how this year’s season will be, as every year is different, the health department said.
“Even if you had the flu shot last year, you need another flu shot to protect you from the flu virus strains that will be circulating this year," Saddler said.