State Health Officer stresses importance of flu shot amid pandemic

While Mississippi continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, flu season will soon be upon us as well. 

Typically beginning in October, this year’s flu season will occur alongside the global pandemic that continues to cause disruptions to everyday life. With that said, State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said Monday that getting your flu shot is more important than ever. 

“We don’t want to have a bad combination flu/COVID season, so please get your flu shot,” he urged. “We know that pharmacies are starting to stock the flu vaccine now, so I would encourage everyone to go out and get the flu vaccine, especially the people who don’t think they need it. Everybody needs the flu vaccine.”

Dr. Dobbs went on to stress that even young people need to get the vaccine while reiterating that a quiet flu season is necessary to ensure the viability of Mississippi’s healthcare system. 

“If you’re young and healthy and you’re not worried about the flu, get the flu vaccine. We have young people who die from the flu every year,” he said. “We certainly do not want to have flu and COVID at the same time, not only making people sicker but also overwhelming our healthcare system which is already stretched as tight as it can be stretched.”

The flu shot is particularly recommended for young children, pregnant women, those over 65, and those with underlying health problems. 

The *relatively* good news is that the same measures used to prevent the spread of COVID-19 will also work for the flu. The MSDH advises you to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, wash your hands frequently and stay home when you’re sick. Also, continue to practice social distancing and wear a mask while out in public. 

Flu symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, muscle and body aches, and fatigue.