Experts say importance of flu shots grows during COVID-19

Doctors believe getting a flu shot can help the community


Art by Jaida Puentes

Molly Schochet

As the winter months approach, along with it comes the Influenza (flu) season. According to Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Minnesota, Tyler Bold, this year it is more important than ever to get a flu shot due to the similarities between flu symptoms and those of COVID-19.

“Part of the reason why it’s super important that people get influenza (vaccine) this particular year is because it’s actually really hard to tell the difference between (COVID-19 and the flu) without getting tested,” Bold said. 

Because the flu weakens your immune system, senior Lily Metzler said that not only is it important to get a flu shot to protect you and your family from the flu, but also from COVID-19.

“If you get the flu you’re more likely to contract COVID-19. It’s really important for people to get their flu shot not only for themselves, but to help prevent illness for the rest of the community,” Metzler said. 

As there are some people who can not medically get the flu shot, senior Koby Davis said it’s important that everyone who can get it does so they can protect those around them. 

“It would be selfish of you not to (get the flu shot) because there are people in this world who are medically compromised, can’t get the flu shot and rely on the herd’s immunity,” Davis said. 

Bold said he hopes more people can start to appreciate how much the flu shot and other vaccines can do for not only individual people, but the entire world. 

“I’d like people to understand how incredible vaccines are with a single jab in the arm,” Bold said. “You could actually not only prevent someone from getting an infection like the flu and potentially getting super sick or even dying from an infection, but immunizations are so powerful that they can even wipe out entire diseases from the earth.” 

Metzler finds the flu shot an essential and easy thing to do to both you and those around you healthy throughout the cold and flu season. 

“It’s really important to keep the community safe, and especially going into the winter season everyone else starts to get sick and germs are being spread,” Metzler said, “Even if there’s one little thing that you can do like getting a flu shot, that’ll benefit the community more than doing nothing.” 

According to Davis, not only does a person have the obligation to their community to get a flu shot, but it should also be mandatory.

“Just like any vaccine, anything to prevent millions or hundreds of thousands of people from dying, or even spreading it to people who are more immunocompromised is a good thing. It, along with all other vaccines, should be requirements for schools,” Davis said. 

While some may be reluctant to get a flu shot due to their unpredictable effectiveness, Bold said that even if one were to get vaccinated and still contract the flu, their systems will be far less severe than if they hadn’t received the vaccine.  

“The truth is that influenza vaccine, while not perfectly effective, has been shown to improve the course of the illness, even in people who still get the flu after a shot,” Bold said. 

If you are interested in getting a flu shot and have not yet gotten one,  Central Clinic will be open from 1:00-4:30 p.m. every Wednesday for walk in flu shots, according to 6425 News.