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Officials concerned about flu season during the pandemic

Officials expect there will be an additional push for the flu vaccine this year in an effort to ease the strain on health care systems.

Posted: Aug 17, 2020 7:09 PM
Updated: Aug 18, 2020 7:19 AM

Although all eyes are on coronavirus right now, the Centers for Disease Control is already worried about a twin pandemic when flu season hits.

On Monday, Huntsville Hospital CEO David Spillers said he really hopes there will be an extra push for the flu vaccine this year, otherwise health care systems will face even more stress.

“If people don’t get the flu vaccine, they come to the hospital, the symptoms are very similar between COVID and the flu. We’re gonna have to treat everybody like they’re COVID,” Spiller said.

According to Spillers, an influx of people coming to the hospital with the flu would require an enormous amount of resources. He said it would strain health care workers because of the time it would take to determine if someone had the flu or coronavirus.

The CDC recommends an annual flu vaccine by the end of October, but says still too early to get the flu vaccine in August due to “the likelihood of reduced protection against flu infection later in the flu season.”

Spillers said the hospital will also make an additional push for the flu shot this year and require it for employees in the Huntsville Hospital system. He said he hopes people in the community do the same.

“Even if the flu shot is not 100% effective, it more than likely will help reduce symptoms and the duration of the flu, which will help in the middle of the winter when we still have COVID prevalent.”

To give you an idea just how dangerous Coronavirus is in Alabama, The CDC reports the flu generally kills about 1,000 per year in Alabama. Coronavirus killed more than 1,800 in five months.

The CDC said “it does seem as if COVID-19 is more deadly than seasonal influenza; however, it is too early to draw any conclusions from the current data.”

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