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What You Need to Know About Flu Shots

While much attention was paid to the shots from the COVID-19 vaccine this year, and necessarily so, it is critical that we do not forget about the equally important, especially for older adults, seasonal vaccine against influenza, or the “flu”.

The seasonal flu shot remains the best way to reduce the risk of danger from the flu, as well as any possible serious complications from the virus. In fact, with the COVID-19 pandemic continuing in the United States with variants of the virus cropping up, many experts are warning of the possibility of a twin pandemic, with people being made seriously ill by one or both viruses. The good news, however, is that the flu shot is plentiful and widely available.

While there are some similarities between the two viruses, influenza and COVID-19 are caused by two different viruses. Both are highly contagious respiratory viruses, but being vaccinated against one does not preclude a vaccination against the other. Individuals who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 can safely get a flu shot this year and every year.

Each flu season varies in severity, but the biggest risk is always suffered by older adults, those over the age of 65. According to the CDC, over half the yearly hospitalizations due to the flu, and possibly as many as three-quarters of the deaths, are suffered by this demographic. This is due to a combination of factors, such as reduced immune response due to aging, and the presence of chronic or underlying health conditions. The seasonal flu shot remains the best way to protect yourself from the disease.