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VERIFY: Health experts say get a flu shot during the pandemic

We've seen questions online about people wondering whether or not to get the influenza vaccine. Experts agree that you should get one.

WASHINGTON — It’s been more than six months since the novel coronavirus was officially declared a global pandemic. Now, it’s almost flu season and that could mean two viruses circulating through the public at once.

On social media, there’s no shortage of people who are for, and against, getting a flu shot.

Question:

Do health experts recommend getting a flu shot during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Answer:

Yes, top U.S. health experts do recommend getting a flu shot during the pandemic.

Our Sources:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr. Anthony Fauci and Surgeon General Dr. Adams.

Process:

Off the bat, all of our sources agree, you should get a flu shot during the pandemic.

“We should continue to encourage people to get vaccinated with the influenza vaccine,” Dr. Fauci said during an interview with PBS News Hour’s Judy Woodruff.

In the interview, he explained the dual challenges of having our normal flu season overlap with the pandemic. First, the difficulty of being able to differentiate between the two. Second, the extra strain that puts on the health care system.

That second point Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams brought up during a Senate hearing on vaccines.

“This will be in, in my opinion, the most important flu season of our lifetime. Less flu and fewer hospitalizations will help conserve precious health care resources,” Dr. Adams told Senators. “So let me be clear, the best way to prevent the flu is to get the flu vaccine, and I hope all of you here today will get your flu vaccines early and publicly.”

To be clear, the CDC reports that the flu vaccine will not protect you against COVID-19 but recommends them for anyone older than six months. The center still has a strong reminder on its website about the dangers of the upcoming flu season and flu shots can help.

Flu Vaccine There are many different flu viruses and they are constantly changing. The composition of U.S. flu vaccines is reviewed annually and updated as needed to match circulating flu viruses. Flu vaccines protect against the three or four viruses (depending on the vaccine) that research suggests will be most common.

"While it’s not possible to say with certainty what will happen in the fall and winter, CDC believes it’s likely that flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will both be spreading. In this context, getting a flu vaccine will be more important than ever.”