Doctors urge public to get flu vaccinations ahead of season’s start amid pandemic


Medical professionals are urging the public to get vaccinated for the flu as they delivered their forecast for this year’s flu season.

When flu season begins on Oct. 1, there is a possibility it could be worse than those in the past, but the precautions taken due to COVID-19 should help keep flu cases down.

“It’s entirely possible that this flu season could be more severe than seasons that we’ve had in the past because of COVID-19,” Dr. Joshua Lenchus, of Broward Health Medical Center, said. “Because more people are attune to wearing a mask, washing their hands, physically distancing from other people that are sick, so I think time will tell.”

Millions of people contract the flu every year, and tens of thousands die from the disease, but in 2020, COVID-19 is a far greater threat with no vaccine.

Doctors are worried some people could both contract the flu and coronavirus.

“People with more than one bad respiratory thing going on at the same time do worse,” Dr. Aileen Marty, an infectious disease expert at Florida International University, said. “They’re more likely to end up in hospital, more likely to end up in the ICU.”

The number one recommendation for flu prevention is for people to get vaccinated, but there is hope the current way of life will keep cases down, which is happening in other parts of the world.

“Because people were being so mindful of COVID-19, it was one of the least dangerous flu seasons that the Southern Hemisphere has seen,” Marty said. “We can do the same thing.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends anyone over 6 months old to get a flu shot.

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