Birmingham area doctors, pharmacists urging public to get flu vaccine this year

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Flu season is on its way and medical experts are encouraging people to get the flu vaccine this year as they fear a “twin-demic”: the flu and COVID-19.

Cases of COVID-19 could rise this winter. If both flu and coronavirus patients are hospitalized, space will be limited and resources would be drained.

“Our resources today aren’t completely strained, we definitely want to be careful not to add those extra flu cases when we know that flu, for the large part, is prevented,” Dr. Anne Schmidt with Blue Cross Blue Shield said.

Schmidt believes the best way to combat the flu is the vaccine itself.

“It’s no fun to get the flu either. So, the more that we can help people stay well, the flu is a preventable thing with the vaccine,” she said.

Pharmacists in Birmingham agree with Schmidt.

“It’s safe and effective. It’s important every year to get the flu shot, especially this year,” Andrew Parrish with Homewood Pharmacy said.

Parrish said they have given more flu vaccines this year than ever before.

“We’ve already given so many this year. A lot of people for the first time. More people are coming out and getting it,” he said.

During such unprecedented times, Parrish said any safety precaution will go a long way to protect everyone.

“We are going through a trying time that we have never been through during a pandemic. At least, not in our lifetime, so this is something that people can do,” he said.

Schmidt is encouraging people to continue COVID-19 safety protocols, such as mask wearing and washing hands thoroughly as another defense mechanism against the flu.

Parrish said they also offer what is called flu misting, an alternative to the flu vaccine.


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