MOUNTAIN BROOK, Ala. (WIAT) — As flu season approaches, medical experts are urging people to get their flu shot soon. The State Health Department recommends people get the shot around late September, or early October for the best protection.

“And that will usually carry you into March,” Co-Owner of Ritch’s Pharmacy Rebecca Sorrell said.

With less COVID-19 restrictions this fall like mask wearing and social distancing, some fear flu cases could be worse. Pharmacies like Ritch’s Pharmacy are gearing up for people to get their flu shots and have already administered some.

“Signs up. Flu shots are available now. We’ve started administering vaccines for those in need,” Sorrell said.

When it comes to people being hesitant or just refusing to get either flu or COVID vaccine, Sorrell believes people are tired of all the medial advice out there.

“You know, you must do this. You’ve got to get this within 28 days, you must get this in 21 days. And it’s just a lot to digest,” Sorrell said.

But like COVID, the flu can be deadly. She says it is safe for people to get both shots around the same time.

“The shots can be co-administered with the COVID-19 vaccine. And by that, I mean they can be given at the same time,” Dr. Karen Landers with the Alabama Department of Public Health said.

“And if there is a chance that your schedule is so hectic or you’re going to be traveling, then I say go ahead and do it,” Sorrell said.

Because getting immunized for both is the best way for people to protect themselves.

“To reduce the spread not only of COVID, but of other respiratory droplets like the flu,” Dr. Landers said.

And everyone throughout Alabama.

“You provided protection for an elderly parent or grandparent. You provided protection for a child. Or you might protect someone who’s immune compromised,” Sorrell said.

Sorrell also encourages people to practice good hygiene like washing their hands, covering their coughs with their elbows or sleeves, and social distance.

To keep track of flu cases throughout Alabama and the United States, click here.