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Consumer Reports: Don't skip your flu shot this year

Posted at 11:58 AM, Nov 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-11 12:58:30-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (CONSUMER REPORTS/WTVF) — Doctors are encouraged by progress made on developing a coronavirus vaccine. However, they are still worried about the coming months and are urging everyone to take precautions and get a flu shot.

Especially with the pandemic, doctors say it is more important than ever to do what we can to stop the spread of influenza, and that means getting a flu shot. Consumer Reports found you have a number of ways you can get it done safely.

As the temperature drops this fall season, we not only have to worry about the coronavirus, but also the flu. Since there is not yet an approved vaccine against COVID-19, health experts are recommending, with even more urgency than usual, that people get their flu shot this season.

“So, the flu shot won’t reduce your risk of getting COVID-19, but it will cut your risk of getting the flu. And even if you do get the flu, if you’ve had the flu shot, you're also less likely to get severely sick or need to be hospitalized,” said Catherine Roberts, Consumer Reports Health Editor

Health experts indicate that diagnostic testing can help determine if you are sick with the flu or COVID-19. Even if your flu test is positive, it doesn’t rule out the possibility that you could be infected with COVID-19 simultaneously.

The flu shot takes about two weeks to become fully effective, and you want to be protected before the season begins to ramp up. It’s the same for your kids -- if they are 6 months of age and older they should receive their flu shot sooner rather than later.

As Consumer Reports says, there are options for doing it safely.

“Your local pharmacy can have you in and out for the flu shot in really just a few minutes and then doctors’ offices and clinics are doing various things to make sure flu shots are safe too, so that might be drive up clinics or special hours that are just for flu shots. The main thing is to call ahead to know what’s going on,” said Roberts.

If you experience any symptoms of a respiratory virus, do not hesitate to call your doctor. Now if you have a confirmed or even suspected case of COVID-19, they say you should get your doctor’s okay before you get a flu shot.

The big concern is spreading the coronavirus. The CDC wants people who could still potentially spread the virus to wait until they’re no longer contagious to go out into public and getting their flu shot.