While the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the Tooele County Health Department reminds people that flu shot season is approaching.
“While some people incorrectly believe getting a flu shot is worthless or gives you the flu, it actually is one of the most important things you can do for your health and others — especially in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic,” said Amy Bate, public information officer for the Tooele County Health Department.
Health experts recommend the flu vaccine for nearly every demographic, including children, adults, and elderly individuals.
There are some misconceptions about the flu vaccine, according to Bate.
“Experts say people can and should get their shots as early as Sept. 1 this year,” Bate said. “Even though typical flu season begins in October and peaks between December and February, the changes brought on by COVID-19 means it is time to start thinking about when, how, and where you can get immunized.”
COVID-19 and the flu are not a good mix, according to Bate.
“Coronavirus’ prevalence in the U.S. this year means you really do not want the flu,” she said. “A combination of both viruses, or one after the other, may mean bad news for your health, respiratory health, and overall ability to recover. Experts are not sure what having both could mean for your health.”
Over half of Americans eligible for a flu shot do not get it, according to Bate.
Bate said that some individuals refrain from getting a shot for fear that it will give them severe side effects — which are very rare — fear it will give them the flu, or the belief that the flu is not that serious, but it can actually cause severe illness or death, she said.
“The flu vaccine is neither perfect nor designed for every strain of flu,” Bate said. “Each vaccine is designed at the end of each flu season, based on the most prevalent strains of flu circulating at the time. Experts design the flu vaccine after predicting which will be the most common strains in the following season.”
The flu vaccine can lessen a person’s severity of flu symptoms, if they do catch the flu.
The flu vaccine also makes it less likely that a person who catches the flu will have to visit the doctor or the hospital, according to Bate.
Bate reminds community members about a statement from the American Medical Association: “It takes two weeks after your flu shot to achieve full immunity, so steer clear until then of anyone who has flu symptoms.”
Tooele County residents can get the flu vaccine from the Tooele County Health Department. Their phone number is 435-277-2300. They can also get the vaccine from their healthcare provider.