Flu shots can offer protection against possible bad flu season, experts say
Increasing signs of the potential seriousness of this year’s flu season makes getting your flu shots this year more important than ever, say Banner Health experts.
Flu season usually starts in October, with infectious-disease specialists suggesting the best time to get vaccinated is from early September to the end of October. People can schedule their flu shots now at urgentcare.bannerhealth.com.
“I am concerned that this could be a very bad flu season,’’ said Devin Minior, MD, physician executive at Banner Urgent Care.
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Predicting flu activity in the U.S. is always tricky. Normally, the U.S. looks to Australia for clues in advance on flu-season activity since their winter is our summer. This year’s Australian flu season arrived early, and its cases are exceeding the five-year average.
Last year, flu numbers were down because of masking and people staying home.
Without those precautions, flu season could come roaring back this year, experts say.
“We are really going into a season of unknowns here,’’ Minior said. “We can’t easily predict the severity of this year’s flu. We don’t know how peoples’ immune systems will deal with any new virus.
“To protect themselves against all of these unknowns, people need to get a flu shot. We can’t stress that enough,’’ he said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that it is safe to get COVID vaccinations and flu shots at the same time.
It is now recommended that adults 65 and older receive high-dose influenza vaccines for better flu protection. People 65 years and older are at higher risk of developing serious flu complications like pneumonia and hospitalizations. Banner Urgent Cares also offer those high-dose vaccines.
CDC recommends flu and COVID-19 vaccines for everyone ages 6 months and older, ,
Banner Urgent Cares provide flu shots in a safe environment that follows CDC recommendations, including masking, pre-screening patients for COVID-19 symptoms and limiting facility access.
“We know that many people won’t be able to get their vaccine at their workplace this year. We want people to be assured that we are offering them a safe place to get their vaccination,’’ he said.
Flu shots are available at Banner Urgent Care clinics; $0 copay with most insurances.