It’s that time of year when public health officials all say the same thing: Get your flu shot. But it’s that time of year in 2020, which means get your flu shot but don’t get COVID-19.
“As response efforts for COVID-19 continue it is critical to get a flu vaccine, not only to protect yourself and others but to help reduce the strain on hospital systems and healthcare workers responding to the pandemic, says Dr. Fredrick Echols, acting director of health for the City of St. Louis.
The flu vaccine will not provide protection for COVID-19. No vaccine currently exists for COVID-19.
Most individuals who become ill with the flu recover without serious complications, but some who contract the flu experience serious illnesses, hospitalization, and even die, Echols said. The best way to help protect yourself, your family, and the community from the flu is to get your annual flu vaccination.
Everyone, older than 6 months of age, with some limited exceptions, should receive an annual flu vaccine, Echols said. Your healthcare provider can tell you if you fit into one of the limited exceptions and would be at risk for a serious adverse reaction from the flu vaccine.
Parents and guardians are reminded that children 6 months to 8 years of age who have not received two doses of flu vaccine before July 1 will require two doses of the vaccine (one dose given during two appointments at least four weeks apart).
Echols said it’s important that you consult your healthcare provider about getting the flu vaccine if you have an allergy to eggs or any of the other ingredients in the vaccine or if you have had Guillain-Barré Syndrome.
He also advises individuals to make sure to inform the person administering their vaccination if they are not feeling well and let them know what symptoms are being experienced.
The City of St. Louis Department of Health will partner with some Federally Qualified Health Centers to increase access points for City residents to get the flu vaccine. To learn more about this year’s vaccine and locations in the City of St. Louis to get a vaccine, visit https://tinyurl.com/STL-flu.