As we continue to deal with the effects of the delta variant and the surge in COVID-19 cases, we must also prepare for flu season. While much of the focus has been on COVID-19 vaccines and boosters, getting an annual flu vaccine is also important, and can protect you and your loved ones from the flu. According to experts at Sharp Coronado Hospital, a flu shot is the best way to prevent the flu.
“It is always important to get your flu shot, but during this pandemic it is more important than ever,” says Lindsay Schimpf, an infection preventionist with Sharp Coronado. “Flu shots offer protection by decreasing your likelihood of becoming infected and can also reduce the severity of disease and prevent hospitalizations if you do become ill.”
Young children, pregnant women, people with certain chronic health conditions — such as asthma, diabetes, and heart or lung disease — and people age 65 and older, are especially vulnerable and need to get a flu shot to decrease the risk of severe flu-related complications.
“Keeping people out of the hospital and preserving our hospital resources has been crucial throughout the pandemic,” says Schimpf.
In addition to the flu shot, the precautions taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 — hand-washing, wearing face coverings and social distancing — can also decrease the risk of getting the flu.
“While COVID-19 and flu can have similar symptoms, they are caused by different viruses. COVID-19 vaccination does not protect against the flu, and the flu shot will not prevent a COVID infection,” says Schimpf. “We encourage our community members to receive all recommended immunizations.”
Any time people are in crowded public spaces — outdoor and indoor — it is important to follow precautions such as wearing a face covering, maintaining 6 feet distance, frequently washing hands and avoiding touching the face.
Wondering where to get your flu vaccine? Visit sharp.com/flu for more information.
Additionally, Sharp Coronado Hospital will host a drive-up Community Flu Shot Clinic for people at least 6 months old. The clinic will offer free flu shots outside the Sandermann Auditorium entrance on Soledad Place on Oct. 18, from 9 am to noon. Please note that high-dose flu shots will not be available at this location. If you are age 65 or older and would like a high-dose flu shot, they are available at the Sharp Community Pharmacy, Monday through Friday, from 10 am to 4 pm on a walk-in basis.