The Medical Association of the State of Alabama and the Alabama Department of Public Health are encouraging the public to take part in “Flu Shot Friday” on Friday, Nov 12.
“Cooler temperatures outside mean it is officially flu season in Alabama and the best way to protect yourself is to get the flu vaccine,” said Dr. Aruna Arora, president of the Medical Association, in a statement. “This year it is especially important to get the flu vaccine to help reduce the burden on our health care system, which has been overwhelmed with COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations.”
Dr. Burnestine Taylor, ADPH’s medical officer for Disease Control and Prevention, in a statement, said the flu is one of the leading causes of death in Alabama each year.
“Everyone needs to take it seriously and get vaccinated,” Burnestine said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone 6 months or older get the flu vaccine, especially those at high risk for flu complications, which include those 65 or older, young children and those with chronic health problems including asthma and heart disease.
County health departments statewide can administer flu shots. Visit the Alabama Department of Public Health’s website for more information and to find a link to county health department phone numbers and addresses.
The flu vaccine can be given at the same time as a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Experience with other vaccines has shown that the way our bodies develop protection, known as an immune response, and possible side effects after getting vaccinated are generally the same when given alone or with other vaccines,” the CDC’s website states.
“Preventing severe illness and hospitalization from influenza are even more important this year, considering the challenges to our medical system from dealing with COVID-19,” wrote Dr. Michael Roberts, East Alabama Medical Center’s Chief of Staff and an internal medicine specialist and hospitalist with Internal Medicine Associates.
Alabama has the fourth-lowest percentage of residents fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the CDC.
To find locations where both the flu vaccine and COVID-19 vaccines are given, visit vaccines.gov.