With the Coronavirus (COVID-19) virus continuing to circulate, getting vaccinated for the flu is more important than ever this season.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports influenza vaccinations can reduce frequency of the flu and can also reduce symptoms that might be confused with those of COVID-19. While the flu shot won’t prevent COVID-19, it will slow the circulation of flu in Texas and keep people out of the hospital, conserving medical resources needed to care for COVID-19 patients.
“We want as few people as possible to get sick this fall and winter,” Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Commissioner Dr. John Hellerstedt said. “That protects our health care professionals and health care system, which is key to defeating both COVID-19 and the flu. In addition, the same precautions Texans are already taking against COVID-19 – wearing masks, physical distancing and hand hygiene – will help slow the spread of influenza.”
Goodall-Witcher Healthcare is holding a drivethrough flu shot clinic, 8-11 a.m., Oct. 17 at both clinic locations in Clifton and Whitney to minimize contact and exposure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“While flu shots are in high demand this time of year, we will work hard to make it quick and easy for you,” Goodall-Witcher medical officials stated on the healthcare system’s website. “Remember, it takes about two weeks after a flu vaccination for the body to build up protection against flu. CDC recommends vaccination by the end of October.
“GWH will also continue to give flu shots on a walkin basis during clinic business hours. We have set up a flu shot area in the front of the lobby in an effort to minimize the screening process, minimize time in the clinic and contain the flu shot patients to one area.”
Brookshire’s Grocery store pharmacies in Clifton and Whitney are also currently offering flu shots.
The CDC reports it has already begun working with flu vaccine manufacturers to have extra flu vaccine available this flu season. Manufacturers have already begun distributing flu vaccine and will continue to do so throughout the season.
According to the DSHS, the flu shot is especially important for people with chronic health conditions, pregnant women, young children, and older adults because they are at higher risk of developing serious complications. Caregivers should get the flu shot to protect themselves and to prevent spreading the flu to the vulnerable people they care for in their families and communities.
“Young children are one of the groups known to be at high risk of hospitalization or death from complications of the flu,” Hellerstedt said. “Getting your flu shot is one of the best ways to protect them and everyone else in the community.”
Influenza symptoms usually start suddenly and include fever, body aches, chills, a dry cough, sore throat, runny nose, headaches, and extreme fatigue and can last a week or longer. It is important to note that not all flu sufferers will have a fever.
People can help stop the spread of illness and reduce their chance of catching the flu by getting vaccinated, washing hands frequently, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home if they are sick.