ATLANTA, Ga. (WJBF) – The CDC says this flu season could be more severe than last since many people did not get their flu shots last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Emory doctors say ICU bed capacity at hospitals across the state are already pushed to the limit, and health expert are concerned about a potential surge in cases after the Labor Day weekend with millions of travelers.
The CDC says you do not have to wait 14 days between your COVID-19 vaccine and flu shot.
Dr. Francis Collins, Director of National Institutes of Health said, “I just ask people to be patient that when the science changes, the recommendation changes.”
Doctors didn’t know if there were side effects or negative interactions if the flu and covid doses mixed, but now say it is safe to get both shots without a lag.
“The vaccines are protecting against significant disease and you are chance of ending up in the ICU if you are unvaccinated is about 25 times greater even if we both got the same exposure.”
Although both are respiratory illness, doctors say it’s important to get the influenza shot and vaccine as they respond to different viruses.
Dr. Francis Collins said, “We don’t have evidence that there should be a time space between flu shot and covid vaccine. It’s just important to get the flu shot. Flu season is coming and we may have a bad season because last year we had none and it may build up as cold weather happens and people are closer together.”
The CDC recommends anyone older than six months to get their flu shot and say the optimal time to get the flu shot is between September and October. The NIH says when boosters roll out, it’s best to get that as well to stay protected.
“I think a booster is a wise thing to do to make sure it sustains itself so you are not at risk for Delta or whatever’s next.”
The CDC and FDA are still analyzing the booster roll out and should have a recommendation by September 20th on when fully vaccinated people can get the additional dose. They say you can get either Pfizer or Moderna for your booster shot regardless of the initial dose.