Influenza season is just around the corner and in the world of a pandemic mimicking several symptoms similar to COVID-19, this could be a problem. ONE “Twindemic” affects many health officials, so they think it is more important than ever that people get their flu vaccinations
“Influenza and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory diseases, but they are caused by different viruses.” reads a statement from Brooks Hospital. “As we approach flu season with positive COVID-19 cases in our community, the Brooks-TLC Hospital System, Inc. infection control team is reminding us that it is extremely important to remain vigilant to take precautionary measures to keep ourselves and our loved ones healthy. ”
The statement indicates that in this context, a flu shot this year will be more important than ever. “Influenza vaccination will be very important for the upcoming flu season as it can help reduce the overall impact of respiratory disease on the population and thereby reduce the burden on the health system during the COVID-19 pandemic.” The statement goes on.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends an annual flu vaccine for all people six months and older. “This year the public should be particularly proactive” explains Theresa Schrantz, Brooks-TLC health coordinator. “People should get it as soon as it becomes available.”
Dylan Cassidy, a pharmacist at Concord Pharmacy in Fredonia, said there has been steady supply so far. “We had a lot of people who came in a little earlier than I normally would like to see, but still somehow within reach. Between the coronavirus and the flu, they just want to make sure they are protected. “ She said. “Once the flu season comes, you have a lot of people asking about you.”
According to Cassidy, the recommended window is before the end of October. “If you go to the hospital and you have a fever, the symptoms are pretty similar (as with COVID-19).” Cassidy said. “You are both respiratory, you have a fever, a sore throat, a cough, these are also symptoms of the flu. I think it would be a good indicator that if someone has a flu shot and is having these symptoms it might be helpful to say it shouldn’t be the flu. You may still get the flu after getting the flu, but it can help rule things out. “
Sarah Gilbert, marking specialist for the Chautauqua Center, echoed these views. “The people who come in and take their pictures are in full swing.” She said. “The symptoms are so similar that they have to be extra aggressive this year to catch this flu, to get rid of the flu as an option.”
Gilbert said the Chautauqua Center is encouraging everyone to get a flu shot, especially this year, and is hosting a free clinic to make that happen. “This is a particularly busy season as respiratory diseases are a priority for the CDC.” Gilbert added. “People really want to protect themselves this year.”
See SHOTS, page A5
The Chautauqua Center has teamed up with CVS and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of west New York for a flu clinic on October 17 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the pavilion on Park Avenue and East Third Street in the city. Pre-registration is available online at www.cvs.com/vaccine/intake/clinic/covid-screener/covid-qns. For those who do not have access to the internet, they can pre-register by calling Anna Michotek on BCBS of WNY at 716-331-4844.
If members of the community can’t hold this event or don’t want to wait, community members can get the flu vaccine by contacting their GP or it is usually available at pharmacies.
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