NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) – Doctors are strongly encouraging people to get their flu vaccines this year.
It’s out of fear of what’s being dubbed a “Twindemic” – flu and coronavirus pandemics happening at the same time.
Healthcare facilities like Vanderbilt University Medical Center are advising people to get their flu shot so they don’t overwhelm hospitals with even more sick patients.
From Oct. 1, 2019, through April 4, 2020, the CDC estimates between 410,000 and 740,000 hospitalizations because of the flu.
Couple numbers like this along with COVID-19 hospitalizations and it creates a potential storm for hospitals everywhere.
“It could stress us all out in healthcare and could make many people sick,” said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
The stress is already on for so many hospitals. The added stress of flu cases this fall and winter is what they’re trying to avoid.
“There is a concern. We’ve already seen reports of people getting both viruses, one after the other, or even simultaneously,” said Schaffner.
The flu vaccine is typically not mandated, but some school and healthcare facilities across the U.S. are doing so.
Even pharmacies are ramping are up the flu vaccine availability. Walgreens will have sites outside of the store for people to receive the vaccine.
“The recommendation is very simple. If you are older than six months of age, you should be vaccinated each and every year,” said Schaffner. “The more flu vaccine we can get into people’s arms, I think the more we will be able to protect people.”
Schaffner said people should start getting their flu vaccines from mid-September to Halloween. Doctors want the vaccine to be able to last until March.