Experts urge Bay Area to vaccinate as flu season approaches

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"Midwife prepares vaccine for newborn" / Aisha Farquir / World Bank Photo Collection / CC BY-NC-ND

Vaccines are typical given through an injection or nasal spray.

With the COVID-19 pandemic still raging, experts stress the importance of getting vaccinated as flu season rapidly approaches.

Flu season this year will look much different than it has in the past. On top of the millions of Americans that are sickened by influenza each year, the coronavirus continues to infect the country, compounding the damage this winter will bring.

“It’s going to be difficult for doctors to distinguish between the two infections,” said Santa Clara County Executive Officer Jeff Smith at a news conference Thursday

Both illnesses have similar symptoms of coughing, fatigue, and fever. 

This poses a concerning double threat. 

During the 2017-2018 flu season, hospitals had to fly in nurses from all around the country to assist with battling the sickness. Hospitals were forced to erect makeshift tents in parking lots to care for the overwhelming number of patients infected. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that between 46,000 and 95,000 Americans died from the illness that year. 

Another season such as that would prove to be catastrophic for the health care system.

Doctors, nurses, and the other health care heroes who have led us through the coronavirus pandemic’s uncertainty are not equipped to deal with a severe influenza season.

Getting vaccinated is the best way to save healthcare resources for the care of patients with COVID-19.

Getting Vaccinated by Cambell Kirk

“I got vaccinated this year because I want to make sure my family is safe,” said Emilie Kosman. “I know there’s a lot of stress on doctors already, and I hope that by keeping myself safe, I can limit the number of patients they’re overwhelmed with.”

According to the Santa Clara County Public Health Department, it takes two weeks for the vaccination to become fully effective — yet another reason for community members to get their shot as soon as possible to protect themselves and their families.