CoxHealth officials encourage getting the flu shot before cases increase

Published: Sep. 29, 2021 at 5:09 AM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - While flu vaccines officially became available in August, health experts say now the time to get vaccinated against the virus.

CoxHealth leaders are encouraging the public to get a flu shot before cases increase. According to the CDC influenza activity often begins to increase as early as October.

“If you get vaccinated for the flu, your immunity wanes over time,” said Director of Clinical Operations CoxHealth Matt Farmer. “So to get a refresh, or a booster, or an additional vaccine is helpful to boost your immunity. Secondly, we know this because of the COVID discussions throughout the year. There are variants of the flu as well. Each year we do our best to identify what flu variant is likely going to create the next flu season, and then the vaccines are produced based on that information.”

One thing that often prevents people from getting the shot is they are afraid of getting sick from the virus. While it is possible to get the flu after being vaccinated, your immune system is likely responding to the vaccine.

“If your body is creating an immune response, and for anybody that has received the COVID vaccine, you might remember after the first or second shot, just not feeling very good,” said Farmer. “It is your body’s immune response. Secondly, it can take a couple of weeks for the flu shot to create that boosted immunity in your system. So it’s possible you could get the flu transmitted to you during that period.”

Doctors say that getting the shot every year is the best way to help your immune system fight the virus with all the different flu variants. If you haven’t been vaccinated against COVID-19, health officials say you can receive both shots at the same time.

“Right now, we don’t have any evidence that suggests you can’t get them together. You can’t get them at the same time,” said Farmer. “Depending on how you react to vaccines, you might need a day to let the immune response happen. You might want to spread them out, or you might want to take the bull by the horns and take them all at the same time. What you’re doing by vaccinating is helping your own body develop that immunity, so that when the virus enters your body, you can fight against it.”

Flu shots are available now and are free of charge under most insurance policies. If you have any questions or concerns about the vaccine, contact your primary health care provider.

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