The annual flu vaccine ranges in effectiveness usually from 40% to 60%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Flu viruses are constantly changing. Researchers around the world monitor influenza year-round to update the vaccine.
Dr. Thomas Hirt, a physician at PriMED Centerville Family Practice, said getting a flu shot is the No. 1 preventative measure you can take.
“Because the flu and coronavirus have some similarities, it could be devastating for people to become sick with both at the same time,” he said.
It appears people are heeding experts' advice and getting their flu shots this year.
CVS pharmacies and MinuteClinics have already administered more flu shots nationally this flu season than the chain did during the entirety of last season, according to an emailed statement from CVS Health.
“We are prepared to administer 18 million flu shots this flu season, which is twice last season,” the statement says.
A spokeswoman for Walgreens said the pharmacy chain has seen increased customer demand this year and has already given out 60% more flu vaccines this flu season compared to the same time last year.
Besides retail pharmacies, doctor’s offices and urgent cares — where flu vaccines are free with most insurance plans — Montgomery and Miami counties' health departments provide vaccines by appointment for free or low costs. Locations administering flu shots can be found at vaccinefinder.org.
Some common myths prevent people from getting a flu vaccine, Hirt said. Contrary to a rumor circulating recently, he said, a flu vaccine cannot increase your risk for contracting COVID-19. And you cannot get the flu from the flu vaccine, he explained. There is no live virus in the flu vaccine. The shot takes two weeks to work so sometimes there is a misconception that an illness that presents in that time was caused by the vaccine, he explained.
“The flu vaccine is safe,” he said. “The most dangerous part of getting a flu vaccine is driving to the doctor’s office to get it.”
Flu hospitalizations in Ohio by season
Source: Ohio Department of Health