Updated: Oct 29, 2020
Influenza shots recommended to help safeguard resources for COVID-19 battle.
By Gene Wickham, Staff Writer
With a second and third COVID-19 wave nearing, the CDC and local governments are recommending everyone get a seasonal flu shot in order to prevent flu related illnesses which can impact hospital beds, emergency rooms and PPE resources in the battle against COVID-19.
According to CNN, doctors are expecting the next COVID-19 surge to be the worst yet. While flu shots will not protect someone from COVID-19, it will prevent dealing with two dangerous viruses at the same time. It will also save hospitals and emergency rooms from being overwhelmed by the expected second surge.
The Los Angeles mayor's office is taking the lead in promoting the importance of the flu shots.
“With the COVID-19 pandemic here and the flu season coming, it’s more important than ever to get a flu shot to keep Angelenos healthy and avoid a scenario that could overwhelm our hospital system,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “Getting a flu shot should be part of everyone’s annual routine, and working alongside the USC school of pharmacy, we will make this life-saving vaccination available more widely, quickly, and efficiently to people across our city.”
The seasonal flu kills about 4,000 people a year. Influenza (flu) is estimated to have been around for a thousand years. The CDC says the flu season occurs in the fall and winter. While influenza viruses circulate year-round, its activity peaks between December and February, but can last as late as May.
Both the flu and COVID-19 are respiratory diseases but there are important differences. COVID-19 is caused by infection with a new coronavirus (called SARS-CoV-2) and the flu is caused by infection with influenza viruses. COVID-19 is more contagious, but the flu currently has a vaccine while COVID-19 does not.
Gov. Gavin Newsom received his flu shot while conducting a live news conference, stressing the ease of the inoculation and the importance to personal health and medical expediency.
Europe is already planning for its second COVID-19 wave and the U.S. is expecting the worst surge yet. Major European countries are currently enacting stringent lockdown procedures including closing bars, restaurants and schools. In the meantime, the U.S. is trying to open up various venues and businesses to counteract the economic devastation brought on by COVID-19.
There are free flu shots at neighborhood pharmacies like CVS, Walgreens and Rite-Aid for those with insurance. Without insurance, the cost of getting the flu shot could start at around $40, according to Rite-Aid’s website.
However, for those without insurance, Los Angeles County is offering free shots at eleven of its public libraries across the city at designated times and locations. Click the link for more information.