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Health officials urge people to get the flu vaccine

Dr. Harris said it is best to get it in September or by the end of October the latest.
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Published: Sep. 28, 2021 at 2:01 PM CDT
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - It is time to prepare for Flu season and doctors say the best way to do so is to get your flu shot.

Dr. George Narby, Chief Medical Officer at Southeast Health, said the flu shot will help improve your chances of avoiding the flu and if you do catch it, your symptoms will be less severe.

“You don’t want to get the Flu and you don’t want to get COVID, and we have seen patients that have both illnesses at the same time,” Dr. Narby said. “So, that is something you want to avoid. I recommend your flu shot you know it might prevent having a week off sick from work this winter if you get your flu shot.”

Statewide health organizations are urging people to get the shot, saying this year is as important as ever with COVID-19 is still circulating across the nation.

“It’s good to get your flu shot in September or by the end of October at the latest in order to be ready for the upcoming flu season,” said Dr. Scott Harris, State Health Officer. “The good news is that this year’s vaccine protects against four different flu strains, so there is added protection.”

The CDC recommends for anyone six months or older to get the flu vaccine, especially those at high risk for flu complications. According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, those considered at high risk include people 65 years and older, young children and people with chronic conditions such as asthma or heart disease. The health organization said this also includes those who care for or live with people in these high-risk populations.

Flu season is typically a busy time for hospitals, but last year was an irregular season with patients compared to years past. Dr. Don Williamson, President of the Alabama Hospital Association, said the fewer flu cases last year were the result of people wearing masks, social distancing and getting their vaccine.

But this year will likely be different.

“Last year was an anomaly, and hospitals did not see the usual admissions associated with the flu because of social distancing, mask wearing and vaccination,” Dr. Williamson said. “With social distancing and mask wearing likely to be less common this Winter, Influenza vaccination becomes even more critical to avoid the health care system being overwhelmed from the combination of COVID and flu.”

There are two options for getting a flu vaccination. People can get the traditional shot or the nasal spray vaccine, this depends on patients age, health status and allergies.

You can contact your doctor, pharmacy or county health department to see when and where you can get your Flu vaccine.

Copyright 2021 WTVY. All rights reserved.

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