If more people are vaccinated for the flu, fewer people will become sick with the flu and fewer patients will require hospitalization. When there are fewer flu cases, hospital resources are freed up for COVID-19 patients in the event of surges.
"With no vaccine for COVID-19, we’ll continue to see the virus spread and sicken people this fall and winter. Unfortunately, that will coincide with the upcoming flu season," says Martin Herrmann, M.D., medical director of Mayo Clinic Health System in Waseca and New Prague. "We need people to do their part and get the flu vaccine to lessen the severity of the upcoming flu season so we can continue to respond to COVID-19 as needed."
While it's difficult to predict exactly what will happen in the upcoming flu season, the Southern Hemisphere, where the flu season is coming to an end, offers some clues. Mask-wearing and social-distancing due to COVID-19 has helped to keep the flu burden down, as these practices help protect people from numerous respiratory viruses and not just COVID-19.
"Also, don’t forget to wash your hands often and thoroughly," says Dr. Herrmann.
Unfortunately, some people may be reluctant to be vaccinated or to vaccinate their children due to misinformation about vaccine safety. Vaccines are held to the highest standards of safety and, aside from minor side effects for some patients, they are safe for most patients.
It's important to seek medical information only from credible sources who have scientific training, Dr. Herrmann says.
Common myths about the flu vaccination that are scientifically proven false include:
- A flu vaccination can cause a patient to get the flu. While some people experience muscle aches and a fever for a day or two after receiving a flu vaccination, this is likely a side effect of the body's production of protective antibodies. It is not the flu.
- Many patients have serious adverse reactions to vaccines. Allergies and serious complications from vaccines are rare. Tell your provider if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to a flu vaccination or any other medicines. Also, tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives or animals.
- Vaccines cause autism.
Despite much controversy on the topic, researchers haven't found a connection between autism and childhood vaccines.
Talk to your health care provider about any vaccination concerns you might have, as well as how and where to get your flu vaccination.
For more information about vaccination safety, visit the Mayo Clinic News Network.
Mayo Clinic Health System consists of clinics, hospitals and other facilities that serve the health care needs of people in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The community-based providers, paired with the resources and expertise of Mayo Clinic, enable patients in the region to receive highest-quality physical and virtual health care close to home.
Press ContactAmanda Dyslin