Doctors urge people to get flu shot this season amid COVID-19 pandemic

Doctors urge people to get flu shot this season amid COVID-19 pandemic

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - Healthcare experts say getting a flu shot is important this year, not only to help reduce flu, but also lessen the burdens of healthcare systems during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some are making it easier to get a flu shot this season with walk-in clinics.

Tidelands Health is offering twice-weekly free flu shots for most insurance providers:

For those without insurance, the cost is $25.

If this option doesn’t work, people can schedule a flu shot visit with CVS or Walgreens.

Not only are healthcare officials encouraging people to get a flu shot to help protect themselves and their family, but it also helps to relieve hospital staff and resources.

“We are already dealing with the COVID pandemic and we don’t want a flu epidemic on top of that, so we’re encouraging everyone to get their flu shots to avoid adding another strain to the healthcare system," Tidelands Health Director of Outpatient Operations Jason Self said.

But many are wondering: with the push for getting a flu shot this year, are there any concerns with having enough of them?

For many doctors, it’s not the question of if they’ll have enough, but if enough people will get one.

“I’ve had patients say, ‘I’m allergic to eggs.’ Well, we have vaccines that aren’t made with eggs or the preservatives scare me, we have preservative-free vaccines. Folks who are 65 and older category, we have certain flu vaccines for them as well, more potent,"' Conway Medical Center’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Paul Richardson said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say vaccine manufactures will produce between 194 and 198 million doses of flu vaccine this season. But still, the CDC says not everyone will get one.

Despite this, Richardson says it’s important to get a flu shot every year.

With the flu’s peak season right around the corner and COVID-19 pandemic ongoing, Richardson doesn’t want patients fighting both at the same time, or one after the other.

“The last thing you want is to be co-infected with both of these," Richardson said. "We know right now coming up on our peak influenza time, so odds are what odds are, so to me that is the reason we need to be concerned and one of them we already have a vaccine for.”

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