With the 2020 flu season and the COVID-19 pandemic both underway, a Gainesville physician says it is more important to get a flu vaccine this year than it has been in past years.
Dr. Monica Newton from Northeast Georgia Physicians Group spoke on Mornings on Maine Street and said she recommends that everyone six months and older get the flu vaccine this season. According to Dr. Newton, the flu vaccine will not always prevent someone from getting the flu, but it can prevent more serious outcomes.
“It does prevent you from having some of the complications of the flu, like hospitalizations and death,” Dr. Newton said.
The flu vaccine prevented almost 4.4 million flu illnesses, 2.3 million visits to a doctor, 60,000 hospitalizations, and over 3,500 deaths in 2019 said Dr. Newton.
While the flu vaccine does not protect against the coronavirus, the vaccine’s ability to reduce visits to the doctor and reduce hospitalizations helps conserve potentially scarce medical resources for the fight against COVID-19, according to the CDC.
Dr. Newton says individuals that are recovering from a COVID-19 infection should wait 14 to 21 days after the illness resolves before obtaining a flu shot.
According to the Northeast Georgia Physicians Group website, there are several groups of people that are considered high-risk that should receive the flu vaccination as soon as possible. These high-risk groups include children that are between six months and five years old, adults that are 65 years and older, pregnant women and people with chronic medical conditions.
To make the process of obtaining a flu shot easier, NGPG will offer three drive-thru flu vaccination events at different locations on Saturdays in October.
For more information on the flu vaccine, visit nghs.com/flu or ngpg.org/flu.