By HANNAH SIEVERT
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY
We hear it every year: “Get your flu shot!”
But this year’s flu vaccine could be even more critical than usual.
“Getting your flu shot is always important, but this year is especially important,” Morgan Emerson, with Deschutes County Public Health, said. “We want to make sure that we’re keeping our hospital capacity as available as possible especially as we have COVID-19 at the same time.”
Emerson said thousands of people are hospitalized by the flu every year.
A graph on Deschutes County Public Health’s website shows last year almost 150 people in Central Oregon visited the ER because of an influenza-like illness in just one week.
“It’s important to remember that it’s something that kills people every year,” Emerson said.
According to the CDC, health experts are still studying how common it is to get COVID and the flu at the same time. Experts are also still studying what symptoms from a combination of the viruses might look like.
But the CDC is clear — you can get both the flu and COVID at once.
“In the fall and winter when we’re indoors more we see more spread of respiratory viruses,” Emerson said. “Of course wearing your mask, washing your hands, and staying home while you’re sick will help and that’s helped with COVID as well, but really getting your flu shot is the best means of protection we have.”
Emerson said access to the flu vaccine doesn’t seem to be an issue this year from what she’s heard from local providers.
You can find a location to get a flu vaccine at the CDC’s Vaccine Finder website.