COVID-19 & Flu season: The Importance of Flu Vaccination During a Pandemic

By Elodie Nonguierma, Research Assistant, Center for Health Equity Engagement Education and Research

Fall is here and now it is the time to get our flu shots. Unlike previous years when most people were just questioning to either get the flu shot for various reasons, this time around we have to also worry about COVID-19. While health officials are urging people to get their flu shots, I have been hearing so many conspiracies to why flu vaccines should not be taken. A few weeks ago, I was in a conversation with people who thought that my professional background will give me more insight into the matter. Some of them claimed that they have heard from “good sources” that they should wait to get their flu shot toward the end of fall and others claimed that health officials have been using the flu shot as a trial for the COVID-19 vaccine without disclosing it. I guess this goes to show how much the public has lost trust in health officials. As a public health worker, I take issue with why it is such an issue for people to see the overall importance of a vaccine, especially when talking about infectious diseases. The vaccine not only protects you, but also the people around you. Unless you have a medical reason that prevents you from being vaccinated, by refusing you are not only exposing yourself, but your loved ones as well.

The flu has been proven to kill thousands of people every year and infect many more. In fact between 2010-2020 the  “CDC estimates that influenza has resulted in between 9 million – 45 million illnesses, between 140,000 – 810,000 hospitalizations and between 12,000 – 61,000 deaths annually since 2010.” (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-Disease Burden of Influenza) It is our responsibility to vaccinate every year in the fall to protect ourselves.



Understandably, with all the mixed messages and the media these days, it is hard to know who to trust. Due to the current pandemic I urge my fellow human to strongly consider having the flu shot this year, especially if you have never done so in the past. It has been proven that people with various comorbidities have been at higher risk of contracting COVID-19, and the flu virus makes you more susceptible to getting COVID-19. The flu shots can easily be administered at your doctor’s office or at your local drug store, and in some places, they are even free of charge.  All you have to do is take the first step, please do not wait until it is too late!

There are many outlets to receive your flu shot, with it being free (with most insurance plans) at many locations. Places varying from Walgreens, CVS, and Rite Aid all provide the shot and these pharmacies have numerous locations. However, during the pandemic it is even more vital to take proper precautions when choosing where to get your shot. For this reason, it’s worth suggesting that MetroHealth is providing “drive-up” flu shots, this way you can receive your vaccine without leaving your car.

For the full list of locations and more information visit the links below.