Health officials urge people to get the flu shot, especially this year

Americans encouraged to get flu shot as US prepares to battle both flu and COVID-19
Posted at 11:22 AM, Oct 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-06 12:29:38-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — While the threat of COVID-19 is still out there, health care experts are urging people to remember to get their flu shot.

They say this is the time to get the vaccine because it takes about two weeks after vaccination for the antibodies to develop in your body and provide protection against the flu.

The CDC recommends to get the flu shot before the end of October.

41 Action News spoke with a Saint Luke's emergency physician, Dr. Marc Larsen about the potential for co-infections this year, due to COVID-19.

"Initially, it was thought that the co-infection rate was very low," Dr. Larsen said. "However, as we started seeing more and more cases of it pop up in the United States, we did realize that there was more more coinfections than we initially thought. So yes, it is possible to get or have both COVID-19 as well."

Doctors are optimistic the flu season will not be as bad, due to an increase awareness and push for frequent hand washing, sanitizing and social distancing.

However, with the amount of hospitalizations and testing they're seeing right now with COVID-19, they're urging people to get a flu vaccine to keep hospitals from getting overwhelmed.

According to the CDC, in the 2018-2019 flu season, there were roughly 490.600 hospitalizations and 34,200 deaths due to the flu.

"On top of what we're already dealing with, with our COVID-19 patients as well, goes on just the fact that hospitals are busy and full," Dr. Larsen said. "That's a lot of a burden. So as much as we can do to diminish those hospitalizations, keep people safe. We need to make sure we have capability and capacity to care for all these patients. So, vaccination's a huge way to help prevent a hospitalization."

Saint Luke's is hosting a drive-thru marathon on the weekends throughout the month of October at these four locations:

    • Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City - Mid America Heart Institute (entrance 2)
    • Saint Luke’s South – Southridge Medical Building
    • Saint Luke’s East – Rehabilitation Services Entrance
    • Saint Luke’s North – Barry Medical Park

Appointments are required for these drive-thru locations and for adults 18 and older.

However, its convenient care locations are for both adults and children.

For more information, click here.