Health experts report increased demand for flu shots amid coronavirus crisis
BATON ROUGE - With the coronavirus lingering and flu season in full swing, health experts say between now and early November is the best time to get a flu shot.
Doctors at local hospitals like Baton Rouge General say it's more important than ever because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We want to minimize the risk of having two infections at the same time, but also want to prevent having a huge strain on hospital systems," said Dr. Rachael Kermis, a physician at Baton Rouge General. "So normally we see a huge jump in hospitalizations during normal flu seasons and we just worry what that might do if we have both covid and flu patients we don't want to overburden the system."
Even Governor John Bel Edwards was vocal about flu shots Tuesday, getting his publicly at Our Lady of the Lake.
“It’s never been more important than this year, while we have a raging public health emergency around the COVID-19 pandemic, to get their flu shot," Governor Edwards said.
Although safety measures like increased hand washing and face coverings may mitigate the possibility of spreading both COVID and the flu, doctors warn that those precautions are not 100-percent effective.
“We’re definitely seeing that even though we have the mask wearing, hand hygiene and stuff, we're still seeing some cases coming into the hospital, and cases coming into the clinic," Dr. Kermis said. "So we do want people to still get vaccinated because there’s still a chance of you getting the flu even with these preventative measures we have in place for COVID."
The flu shot remains widely available and relatively inexpensive, despite its increased demand.
Click here for a list of locations in Louisiana where you can get your flu shot.
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