Doctors say flu vaccine is more important this year than years prior due to COVID-19

Coronavirus

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A one, two punch amid a pandemic. Fall is right around the corner and as always, it comes with a friend; the flu.

It seems everywhere you turn there’s another advertisement urging us to get an influenza vaccination, it’s something doctors say is vital. The State Health Department urges everyone aged six months and older to get a flu shot.

Scared of needles? Don’t have the time? Experts are pleading with those who normally pass on the shot to make this year the year.

“I can only imagine if we have fully active COVID-19 and influenza that could take a shaky situation and make it much worse,” said Dr. David Aronoff, Infectious Disease Specialist at the Vanderbilt Infectious Disease Clinic.

Health experts are warning of a potential ‘twindemic’ with COVID-19 and influenza plaguing Tennessee at the same time; that could overwhelm our hospitals.

“The flu is responsible for tens of thousands of lives lost in the U.S. every year and we’re already seeing hundreds of thousands of lives lost due to COVID-19,” said Dr. Aronoff, “Having two of these going full strength at the same time would be a recipe for problems.”

Dr. Aronoff says our best defense against a collision of the two is to do what we can to prevent influenza by getting our flu shot and doing what we can to prevent both by respecting social distance, wearing cloth masks in public, and keeping up with good hand hygiene.

“Rates of disease in Tennessee and Davidson County are on the way down that’s because people are really doing their part to help prevent the transmission I think those efforts are also going to pay off as we head into flu season,” said Dr. Aronoff.

Metro Health is unaware of any flu cases in Nashville, noting reporting flu-like illness typically starts October 1.

The latest data from the Tennessee Department of Health shows 0 of 95 Tennessee counties have had at least one confirmed influenza-positive result in recent weeks.

Dr. Aronoff says we must keep our foot on the pedal.

“It is absolutely possible that if we released the breaks right now all stopped doing what were doing to prevent spread we very well could see another wave [of COVID-19.]”

Add in the flu, and that would not be good news.

The CDC says flu activity usually starts to increase around October and can continue as late as May.

Doctors fear getting the flu can leave you in a position to a harsher case of COVID-19 and say getting both viruses at once could be a major problem.

Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

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