Health experts weigh in on flu shot, how it works with Covid vaccine

Experts recommend getting this year's flu shot by November 1st.

JOPLIN/NEOSHO, Mo. – As the season changes from summer to fall, we’re also about to enter another season: Flu season.

Last year flu season was almost nonexistent.

“Last year’s flu season was very very mild. we had very limited cases and a lot of that was due to the restrictions that were in place last year to protect people from covid, no social gatherings, social distancing, masking,” said Donna Stokes, Infectious Disease Specialist for Mercy Hospital. 

But health experts expect things to look different this year.

“We do really expect a higher number of cases of influenza this year because there are less restrictions,” Stokes said.

This is why these experts say now is the best time to get a flu shot.

“I would recommend getting the flu shot by November first, most people try and get it in October but since that season runs till April first, the flu shot will protect you through that timeframe. so first of October, mid-October is usually the best time to get a flu shot,” said Larry Bergner, Administrator for the Newton County Health Department. 

And anyone who hasn’t gotten their Covid-19 shot yet can get that plus their flu shot at the same time.

“There is no time period between the vaccinations that is being recommended…if we administer Covid vaccine and influenza vaccine together we will be doing in different arms unless there’s a medical reason to prevent that,” Stokes said. 

For hospitals, more flu hospitalizations could mean trouble, which is why wearing masks and practicing social distancing is still recommended.

“Both viruses are spread by coughing, sneezing…those respiratory droplets that we’ve been trying to protect ourselves from for over a year. We still do have covid circulating in our area, we know that we’ll have influenza circulating soon due to influenza, it is still important to try and prevent that spread,” said Stokes.

Additionally, Ascension Via Christi in Pittsburg announced on September 17th that their doctors have already treated the area’s first patients testing positive for Influenza.

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