Healthcare workers discuss flu vaccines ahead of this year’s flu season
RICHMOND, Ky. (WKYT) - With COVID-19 cases increasing in several parts of the Commonwealth, several healthcare professionals advise that we should not overlook flu season.
“We’ve heard a lot about vaccine fatigue and just the unknown, but flu hasn’t gone away. It’s still very important,” said Vice President of Clinical Support at Baptist Health Richmond, Kimberly Richards.
Infectious disease specialist Dr. Fares Khater said there are still several misconceptions surrounding the flu vaccine that may stop people from getting it.
“You don’t get the flu from the flu vaccine, so that’s impossible, and it’s very safe and very effective, and we’ve been giving flu vaccines now for decades,” Dr. Khater said.
Dr. Khater said although it’s too early to tell the severity of this year’s flu season, getting your flu vaccine will help curb any possible “tripledemics” we may see this year.
“RSV season has already started, and then you can have a co-infection of flu and RSV together, and we know that we’re having a summer wave with COVID-19 cases we’re seeing on a daily basis, so that’s where the flu lands,” Dr. Khater said.
Richards added that last year’s flu shot is not guaranteed to protect you this year.
“The vaccine every year is made specifically for, typically, the top three or four strains of the flu virus that’s floating around, so it’s specific for that virus,” she said. “Most people want to know, ‘Why do I have to get it every year?’ And like COVID, it does change.”
Richards said much like the COVID vaccine, the flu shot should be a high priority for those with underlying health conditions.
“If you have comorbid conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, especially COPD, asthma, or diabetes,” she said.
Richards also said that pregnant women are recommended to get a flu shot because their vaccine can also help to protect their babies in their first few months before it is able to receive the vaccine at six months old.
Doctor Khater added that if you haven’t received a flu, COVID, or RSV vaccine, you have the opportunity to get them all at the same time.
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