Flu Season and Covid-19 Boosters – trying to avoid a “Twin-Demic”

Experts says Flu Season could be devastating for our local healthcare systems

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (WDEF) – With flu season right around the corner and the delta surge in full swing, many people are wondering about the possibility of a “twin-demic’ and if a Covid booster shot will be necessary?

Experts with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health explain. 

Within an average year, the flu causes 30-60 thousand deaths, 300 to 600 thousand hospitalizations, and as many as 15 million trips to the doctor- but last year was an exception. 

The numbers were at an all-time low probably as a result of better hygiene-  but NOW with nearly 130-thousand new daily coronavirus cases in the US, and more than 100-thousand people in the hospital, the concern is that health care systems won’t be able to accommodate the load.

“The big risk here is that our healthcare system has limited capacity and in the winter it usually hits that capacity and replaces absent covid. Flu is often a big contributor. If we see covid hitting capacity in our healthcare systems the dual whammy could be a lot,” says Dr. Dan Salmon, Institute for Vaccine Safety, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The CDC is recommending that people get a COVID-19 booster 8 months after their second shot. For many people that’s going to fall right in the middle of flu season- so is getting both vaccines a good idea? 

“The flu virus changes so much every year and the vaccines that we have are far less potent than the vaccine we have against covid. Those are the two factors that are requiring yearly vaccinations. I think we will require boosters, or more than just our primary series of vaccinations against Covid if we are unable to control this pandemic,” says Dr. Anna Durbin, Center for Immunization Research, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. 

“We have really good vaccines for covid. We have reasonably good vaccines for the flu. We should use them both as widely as possible and hope we don’t see co-pandemics that make things worse,” says Dr. Salmon.

 For information on how to schedule your vaccine or upcoming flu shot, click here

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