People with weakened immune systems can have a hard time fighting off a single virus. The same can be said for healthy people more than one disease. Their immune systems can struggle when battling two invisible enemies at once.
“If your body is trying to combat the flu, and you are exposed to COVID-19, now you’re having two viruses rampaging your body,” said Katie Scheelar, PharmD, Senior Clinical Program Manager, Clinical Pharmacy, at EOCCO partner, Moda Health. “Your system is basically working overtime as opposed to fighting just one invisible enemy at a time.”
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Scheelar said getting a flu shot helps lower the risk of getting two viruses at the same time.
“The problem is if you have both infections, those symptoms can be compounded,” she said. “Getting the flu vaccine helps diminish the likelihood of a flu diagnosis. Plus, you won’t be in a dangerous spot if you become co-infected with COVID, too.”
Get two vaccines at once
According to the CDC, people can safely get both the flu shot and the COVID-19 vaccine at once. This is why Scheelar urges that people getting the flu shot also get the COVID vaccine, if they haven’t already.
“I think the flu shot is something people are used to getting at their doctor’s office or local pharmacy every year. The good part is, you can get your COVID vaccines at those sites, too,” she said.
Scheelar said the health benefits of getting both the flu and COVID-19 vaccines go beyond simply protecting yourself. They protect your community, too. Getting the vaccines can lead to fewer people admitted to hospitals, which is important for our whole society.
Vaccinate for others
With the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine (to be marketed as Comirnaty) now fully approved by the FDA, Scheelar hopes people get both shots to protect themselves and others their community.
“I think of the way we have seen communities rally together in times of natural disasters like wildfires and hurricanes, it’s the same need for viruses,” she said. “It’s about coming together to protect the integrity of our society. When it comes to getting vaccinated, I’m hoping that people see that it’s about more than just them. It’s about keeping our community healthy, open and functioning. For each other. For our future.”