As flu season draws closer, you may wonder how to best protect yourself in 2020. This year has already proven to be a challenge for people and health care providers due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So, it’s only natural to wonder if the coronavirus situation may change how we approach protecting ourselves for the annual flu outbreak. For example, is there a benefit to getting a flu shot earlier than normal this year due to COVID-19?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued guidelines regarding what to look out for this season, who should get the flu vaccine and when the shot should be administered.
In its latest guidance, the CDC said it has not changed its recommendation on when people should get their vaccinations.
“There is no change in CDC’s recommendation on the timing of vaccination this flu season,” the CDC says. “Getting vaccinated in July or August is too early, especially for older people, because of the likelihood of reduced protection against flu infection later in the flu season.”
Instead, the CDC says that September and October is a good time to get a jump on flu protection. But, since the flu virus always spreads through the winter months, people can get a flu shot through January, if necessary.
Also, the CDC still recommends all people ages 6 months of age and older get the annual vaccine. That has not changed with the coronavirus outbreak.
The CDC did say how and where flu vaccines will be given could change due to COVID-19.
“Some settings that usually provide flu vaccine, like workplaces, may not offer vaccination this upcoming season, because of the challenges with maintaining social distancing,” the CDC said.
Supermarkets, doctors’ offices and pharmacies are expected to have flu shots on hand this year as usual. However, you may not be leaving the house much or going out to work right now. So, you might need more of a plan to get your shot as compared to previous years, when you could easily get your vaccine while out and about.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, experts say, it is more important than ever to get a flu shot. This will help ensure hospitals are not overwhelmed this season. In a year like this one, even those with regular flu symptoms might feel like they need to get checked out by a doctor.
To find a safe location to get a flu vaccine, the CDC recommends visiting VaccineFinder.org.