RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — While local health leaders continue to urge people to get the COVID-19 vaccine, there’s another vaccine that they say people should also get this year.
People can start getting their flu shots at certain clinics like CVS and Publix just a few weeks earlier than normal.
Local health leaders are encouraging people to get it soon, but some worry that patients will get overwhelmed by another vaccine.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends people receive the flu shot in September and October, so immunity can last through the flu season.
Karen Carle, the Senior Public Health Nurse for Immunizations and School Health with the Richmond City Health District, said getting it at anytime will give you the necessary protection.
“Just because you had a COVID vaccine doesn’t mean that you’re immune to the flu,” she said.
The efforts to curb the COVID-19 pandemic last year by wearing masks, constant handwashing and social distancing actually helped to keep flu cases down, according to Carle.
“The flu could be pretty bad sometimes,” she said. “We don’t know what it’s going to be like this year, and we don’t want anyone, especially when you have two serious respiratory diseases circulating in society, we don’t anyone to get that sick.”
Although the health district received shipments of the flu vaccine in recent weeks, they won’t give out the shots just yet because the focus is on back-to-school immunizations.
However, Carle said there is concern that some people are growing weary of vaccines.
Others like Eric Stone, who’s currently on dialysis, said he’s going to get his flu shot like he usually does every year.
“I had kidney failure, so I try to do everything I can to kind of protect myself from getting you know sick or catching any type of virus,” he said. “So far I’ve been taking the flu shot for a number of years now.”
Carle said the flu vaccine is 40-60% effective. Even if you don’t get the flu vaccine in September or October, you have until the end of flu season to get your shot.