SEATTLE — With the presence of COVID-19 and flu season overlapping this year, many healthcare professionals say it’s more important than ever to get your flu shot.
“Everyone needs their flu vaccine, and this is the perfect time to get it,” said Dr. Chris Dale of Swedish Health Services.
Young children, from 6 months old to 5 years old, pregnant women, and those with high-risk medical conditions should prioritize getting a flu vaccine. Swedish is reporting average numbers of people getting their flu vaccine so far this year.
“We’re really lucky in Western Washington right now that we don’t see significant circulating amounts of flu,” Dr. Dale said. “If enough people get their vaccinations and everyone keeps wearing their masks, there’s even hope this might be a light flu season. I think that’s what we’re hoping for.”
Swedish is taking measures to keep anyone seeking a flu shot safe. When patients arrive for the flu vaccine, they will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms, including checking temperatures.
There are eight to nine different vaccines on the market, and your healthcare provider will ensure you get the proper one for your age and overall health. Getting a flu vaccine decreases the odds of being in the ICU by 60 to 80 percent.
“It’s also a gift that you give the community,” Dr. Dale said. “What you’re doing is you’re creating a healthier Washington state by getting your flu vaccine. You’re making it less likely that we’ll see the overarching swamping of healthcare that we saw in the early stages of COVID.”
If you are currently a Swedish patient, contact your primary care physician for an appointment at one of their flu shot clinics.