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2020 may be most consequential year to get flu shot amid pandemic, doctors say

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SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – Doctors are saying due to the pandemic this may be the most consequential year to get your flu shot.

That is because simultaneously being infected with COVID-19 and the flu, without the flu vaccine could be deadly.

“The coinfection of flu and COVID is really concerning those in health care which is what we are really emphasizing the need for flu vaccination because that’s what we have now,” Dr. Ranjani Kalyan, with Sutter Health, said. 

Coming down with influenza in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic could have dire consequences.

“Can they occur together? They certainly occur together,” Dr. Kalyan said. 

It can happen but Sutter Health infectious disease specialist Dr. Ranjani Kalyan says just how bad it will be for the person who comes down with both is yet to be seen.

“We haven’t seen a case of flu and COVID just yet but we have seen many viruses that have occurred together and on top of that they can get a secondary bacterial infection, which is really what we are trying to avoid on top of the flu and COVID infection,” Dr. Kalyan said. 

“What I see are the patients that actually get influenza and come into the intensive care unit doing very poorly,” Dr. Vanessa Walker, with Sutter Health, said. 

Sutter Health pulmonary and critical care specialist, Dr. Vanessa Walker talks about the difference in patients suffering from influenza who have been vaccinated and those who have not.

“So even if you do get the flu with the vaccine, you’re going to get a little bit better chance of not getting so severely sick than if you didn’t get it at all,” Dr. Walker said. 

“Getting the flu vaccine at this time is imperative. At least reducing the duration of illness or the severity of illness will help us differentiate flu versus COVID,” Dr. Kalyan said. 

Flu shots are readily available. Check with your primary care provider or walk-in to your neighborhood pharmacy.

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