UAB doctors say the Flu and COVID vaccines are “imperative” for protection against the virus’
DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - Flu season is right around the corner, but that is not the only virus that will be circulating. Like last year, COVID-19 is still highly infectious and spreading easily. Health officials say a vaccine is the answer to protection for both illnesses.
When it comes to hesitancy of getting both the Flu and COVID vaccine, Dr. Molly Fleece, UAB’s Division of Infectious Diseases, provides clarity. She said administering two vaccines at the same time is not something new. She said getting the COVID and Flu vaccine at the same time is safe and recommended.
So far, Alabama has seen four Influenza-B cases across the state, it is very early in the season, but they anticipate the numbers will only go up.
“It is imperative that everybody do their part to try and protect themselves from both COVID and the Flu by getting vaccinated,” Dr. Fleece said.
Dr. Fleece said now is the time to get the Flu vaccine and this year that decision can be more important than ever this year. Last year there were less Flu cases with people taking precautions against the pandemic like working from home, virtual school and mask mandates. But this year that is predicted to change.
“This year with more people returning to work and maybe fewer people wearing their masks out in public, we are expecting to see more cases of Flu this year than we did last year,” Dr. Fleece said.
The Flu and COVID are both respiratory virus’ and symptoms overlap.
“Primarily with the Flu we do see fever, headache and cough being the predominant symptoms,” Dr. Delaney, UAB’s Department of Family and Community Medicine, said. ”You don’t tend to see the loss of taste and smell with Flu that you do see with COVID, but COVID does have those same symptoms.”
Dr. Erin Delaney said this is why testing is crucial.
“The only way to really know is to have the testing done,” Dr. Delaney said.
Other similarities between the two, both virus’ can cause patients to become deathly ill. The Flu and COVID have caused people to become hospitalized, put in intensive care and on a ventilator.
Dr. Fleece said they are worried about the current COVID surge and upcoming Flu season, but it can be prevented.
“The bright spot of all of this is, is that they both have vaccines available so it’s really really important to get both vaccines this year,” Dr. Fleece said.
Dr. Delaney is already looking ahead to the holiday season and said traditional gatherings will require creativity, like last year.
“I do still feel like large crowds are potentially dangerous in terms of spreading COVID and Flu, so I would think about other options,” Dr. Delaney said.
Those option include get together exclusively for those who are vaccinated, and social distancing in place. She said this can be used as an opportunity of encouragement for loved ones to get vaccinated.
“To suggest and recommend, you know, ‘We would love to have you, it would be even better if you could come vaccinated,’ to prevent that at risk there,” Dr. Delaney said.
Dr. Fleece and Dr. Delaney said it is best to get both the vaccines now, to protect not only yourself but those around you.
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