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Northeast Ohio Doctors Urge People To Get Their Flu Shots Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Healthcare professionals strongly recommend flu shots this year in light of coronavirus pandemic. [PhotobyTawat / Shutterstock]
Healthcare professionals strongly recommend flu shots this year in light of coronavirus pandemic. [PhotobyTawat / Shutterstock]

The flu season is approaching and healthcare professionals are advising people to get their flu shots.

We  hear this recommendation every year, but the messaging takes on additional urgency in 2020, as the flu will arrive in tandem with the coronavirus pandemic that continues to spread, and continues to claim lives.    

This has doctors concerned about both viruses circulating at the same time and potentially overwhelming healthcare infrastructure that has already been tested in some areas by the coronavirus pandemic.

According to Johns Hopkins University, there have been more than 27 million cases of the coronavirus worldwide since the pandemic began, eight months ago in some countries. 

Globally, there have already been more than 900,000 deaths credited to the virus and the respiratory illness it causes, COVID-19. But the flu also represents a potentially serious threat to health. 

However, unlike COVID-19, we do have vaccines and treatments which could ward off the flu. That is why this year doctors want people to do all they can to protect themselves.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends everyone 6 months of age or older get a flu shot.  Delivering those shots may look a little different this year as well given the precautions for social distancing and masks that remain in place.  Providers such as The Cleveland Clinic will be administering flu shots by appointment to cut down on the number of people.  Patients should contact their healthcare provider, pharmacy or local health department to find out where flu shots are being administered and the procedures being used to deliver the shots.

A Cleveland Clinic infectious disease doctor discusses the flu shot and what you need to know if you are considering one for the first time.

Later in the program, the Labor Day holiday in addition to marking the end of summer marks the start of the campaign season.  It is just a short push—less than two months—to Election Day on November 3.  Early in-person voting in Ohio will begin on October 6.  Hours and days may vary from county to county so voters should check with their local Board of Elections to find out the specific times.  Mail-in voting is also an option and already the numbers of voters requesting mail-in ballots is outpacing 2016.  Voters have until October 31 to request their mail-in ballot.   Those still hoping to register to vote in the 2020 elections have time.  The registration deadline is October 5. 

For More Information:

CDC Flu Shot Finder

CDC Flu Shot Recommendations

Ohio Secretary of State voter resource page

Ohio Secretary of State poll worker information page

Ohio Secretary of State directory of Boards of Elections (search by county)

Susan Rehm, M.D., Vice Chair, Department of Infectious Disease, Cleveland Clinic 
Karen Kasler, Statehouse News Bureau Chief, Ohio Public Radio/TV