Local health officials warn people to prepare against both COVID-19 and flu as season approaches

Local News

DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — Flu season happens every year, and state health officials are urging people to prepare.

With the pandemic still active in Alabama, State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris and Gov. Kay Ivey are urging people to get their flu shots now.

“Flu season is on the way, and flu shots are available, and we really want you to get one,” said Dr. Charles Harkness, medical officer. “We have flu and COVID-19 circulating in our communities that we have as many people protected as possible from influenza, so if you are six months of age or older then you should get a flu shot.”

The vaccine has been around for years, and Harkness said he believes it is necessary. He said they have noticed many differences in those who haven’t got the flu shot versus those who have.

“People who get the flu shot have lower mortality rate which is huge, and a lot of people who get the flu after getting the flu shot have significantly less symptoms from it and have a less impact from the disease,” he said.

Although it is not the perfect vaccine, he believes this year, the emphasis on it is different.. Flu season brings its own uncertainty on top of trying to currently contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the similarities in symptoms for COVID-19, Harkness believes getting this shot may stop the spread of both just from the shot.

“We’re hoping that with the vaccine that if they avoid getting the flu altogether, and they don’t get COVID, they don’t get any symptoms at all,” he said.

Southeast Health does not give vaccines at the hospital but urges people to get them from the clinic.

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