Flu shots are available, doctors urge getting vaccine now

Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 6:56 AM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Many hospitals in the area are at capacity and now, they are bracing for flu season right around the corner.

Doctor’s offices in the area have started to offer the flu vaccine within the last week. Health professional are urging everybody 6 month and older to get vaccinated for the upcoming flu season.

Dr. Ben Spitalnick from Pediatric Associates of Savannah says the sooner the better, since it will take about 2 weeks after the shot until full immunity.

Last season, influenza numbers nationwide were down significantly. According to Georgia DPH flu reports, there were 163 positive flu cases during the 2020-2021 season. The year before there were 9,112 cases of the flu in the 2019-2020 season. During the 2018-2019 flu season, Georgia reported 5,148 cases.

The major drop last season is attributed to masking and people staying home during the pandemic. There is some concern this year that with many activities and schools operating at a more normal capacity this year-- that won’t necessarily be the case again. Dr. Spitalnick says its crucial people of all ages get the flu vaccine this year to protect yourself and relieve stress on an already strained hospital system due to COVID-19.

“While it is great that last year we had a low flu season, part of that was masking, part of that was flu shots, this year we are having less social distancing and we need the flu vaccines to keep this year’s flu season low because we don’t want a double dose of flu and COVID at the same time,” Dr. Spitalnick said.

There is no wait time between getting the flu shot and a COVID vaccine, often times you can even get both of them during the same visit.

While doctor’s offices have started to roll out the flu shot within the last week, the Coastal Health District is not offering them yet but will be in the near future.

CVS and Walgreens are now offering the flu shot as well.

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