AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – Physicians have once again recommended that everyone six months of age or older receive a yearly flu vaccine, in an effort to stay safe and protect the joyful festivities of the holiday season.
While the seasonal flu remained a minor problem in 2020 and “flu season” has yet to descend on Texas, according to Amarillo health leaders, many Texas physicians have warned that people should prepare for and protect against the virus with an annual flu shot.
“We`re starting to see an increase in flu cases,” said Texas Medical Association (TMA) Council on Science and Public Health Chair Donald Murphey, MD, an Austin pediatric infectious disease specialist, “Your best protection against catching and spreading the flu is a vaccination.”
Flu vaccination is recommended each year for everyone 6 months of age and older, including pregnant women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The flu vaccination can defend people from getting flu, reduce the severity of illness, and keep individuals from ending up in the hospital, just as the COVID-19 vaccines have been shown to lessen COVID-19 illness severity for most people.
“Nobody wants to spend their holiday season in the hospital battling flu or pneumonia,” Dr. Murphey said.
The CDC has described flu complications as most dangerous for the people who are the youngest and the oldest, as well as those with chronic medical problems like asthma or other conditions that weaken the immune system.
“Your sneeze or cough could be enough to make someone really sick whose body isn’t able to fight off the infection, from your new niece or nephew to your grandparent,” Murphey said, “Making sure you’ve had your flu shot protects you and others you’ll be around.”
Murphey’s insistence was very close to the continued recommendations of Amarillo-area health leaders that have advised that everyone able to do so should be vaccinated for both COVID-19 and the flu.
People who have had a COVID-19 vaccination still need an annual flu vaccination, according to health leaders such as those in Amarillo. The two illnesses, while both respiratory, are caused by different viruses, or germs. COVID-19 is caused by the coronavirus, and flu is caused by influenza viruses, which change.
A variety of flu vaccinations is available, and the flu vaccine is reformulated each year. Physicians such as those in the American Medical Association recommended everyone check with his or her doctor to choose the best option. For those who haven`t yet had a COVID-19 vaccination, physicians say getting it at the same time as a flu vaccination is fine.