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10TV: Flu Vaccine Numbers Lower Than Last Year

The holiday season is officially here, which means gatherings, travel, shopping and spending time outside of the house.  It's a busy time of year, but one thing to remember to add to the top of your to-do list is a flu shot.  

We've all heard about the importance of the COVID-19 vaccine throughout 2021, but its important to keep in mind what we've known for over three decades - that getting a flu shot can help you have a more mild case if you do contract the flu, as well as reduce your risk of hospitalization or death from the flu.  It also helps protect those around you.  

The flu level is currently classified as low activity, but the season runs through May and usually peaks in the cold winter months - December, January and February.

"Influenza vaccination (rates) are actually a little bit lower than they were last year," said Joe Gastaldo, MD, OhioHealth system medical director of infectious diseases, in an interview with 10TV. "I think a lot of that has to do with us talking to people about vaccines and having "COVID fatigue" - some people also have "vaccine fatigue," too.

Haven't gotten your COVID-19 vaccine or booster yet?  You can knock out both shots at once. It is safe to receive the flu shot and the COVID-19 vaccine on the same day. If you had the flu shot last year, you still need it this year for that added layer of protection, as your body's immune response decreases over time.  The virus also changes year to year, so the annual immuniczation changes to reflect that. 

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that everyone six-months old and up receive a flu vaccine.  Flu shots are available at OhioHealth Primary Care and Urgent Care locations, as well as area pharmacies and health departments.  

You can learn more about the 2021 flu shot on the OhioHealth Blog, including a "fast facts" video with Dr. Gastaldo, by clicking here.

To see the full story from 10TV, including which flu and COVID symptoms overlap, click on the logo below.