Flu shot: An important COVID-19 defense

Oct 14, 2020


Because of COVID-19, it is more important to get a flu shot than ever before. The last thing you want Is to suffer two major Illnesses at one time. Fewer flu patients also means hospitals will have more room to take care of people with COVID-19.

Getting your flu shot can also be a gift to your loved ones. “Vaccination helps protect yourself from getting sick and limits the possibility of transmission to other people,” says Dr. Connor Kitts, a family practice doctor at Adventist Health Primary Care – Portland. “So even if you are not too worried about the flu yourself, I would still highly recommend getting vaccinated to protect your family, friends and co-workers around you.”

The flu shot may also help prevent severe symptoms even If you do get the flu. And, no, the flu shot cannot give you the flu.

Twindemic: Flu and COVID-19

It Is definitely possible to get the flu and COVID-19 at the same time. Many are worried this flu season could turn into a dangerous "twindemic."

This could mean even more serious symptoms and complications for you. While the flu shot doesn't prevent COVID-19, It can help you avoid getting serious Influenza symptoms while COVID-19 Is still circulating In our area.

“Social distancing, masks and hand hygiene are hugely important steps we should continue to do through the fall and winter to limit the spread of COVID-19 and the flu,” says Dr. Kitts. “Vaccination is an additional line of defense.”

The CDC recommends virtually everyone 6 months of age and older get a flu shot. Click here for more information.

How to safely get a flu shot during the pandemic

You're working hard to socially distance. Make sure your flu shot provider is too. Look for:

  • Flu shot clinics during less busy hours
  • Weekend clinics
  • Drive-up mobile clinics

You can always call your primary care clinic for a flu shot appointment or ask for your flu shot during your next visit. Shots are also available at most specialty clinics.

Getting a flu shot elsewhere

If you get a flu shot at a drugstore or during a work-sponsored flu shot clinic, it's very IMPORTANT to let your primary care office know. Your primary care provider works hard to keep all your medical records In one place so they can best advise you about your health all year.

Make sure to call your primary care office anytime you receive a flu shot or any other vaccine. Established Adventist Health patients can also send a message using MyChart. If you don’t have a primary care provider, call us at 503-261-6929 so we can help you find one that fits your life and location.

Unanswered questions about flu and COVID-19

Dr. Kitts points out that all the steps taken to avoid the coronavirus seem to have slowed the spread of the flu during the Southern Hemisphere’s winter. That may be good news for us in the north.

“However, what is not well known is what risk the might be of contracting both the flu and coronavirus, or if coronavirus is able to spread more easily amongst people with the flu, or vice versa,” he explains. “Protecting yourself with the flu vaccine will mitigate some of this risk.”