There’s another health concern to worry about in 2020: the flu. As COVID-19 persists, many parents are hesitant to take their children to the doctor’s office or local pharmacy. But with a possible “twindemic” lurking, health officials are urging families to get vaccinated. To help ease the anxiety over the flu shot, Express Rx is answering a few FAQs:

Why is the flu shot needed? Why can’t we rely on hand hygiene and masks?

As the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) says, “The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccine.” This shot helps reduce individuals’ risk of infection or the severity of their illness if they become infected—lessening their chances of flu-related complications or hospitalizations. 

How effective is the flu vaccine?

Each year, health experts across the world use research to predict which strains of the influenza virus will be in circulation during the winter. This year’s flu shot contains four different strains. According to the CDC, when well-matched, the vaccine can reduce the risk of flu illness by between 40 and 60 percent. If individuals are infected by a strain not included in the vaccine, studies show their flu illnesses will be milder.  

Will the flu shot help prevent COVID-19? 

Unfortunately, the flu shot does not prevent COVID-19 or reduce the severity of its symptoms. However, the CDC recommends all Americans get vaccinated to help keep themselves safe and “conserve potentially scarce healthcare resources” needed to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

When and where should I get the flu shot?

Protection from the flu shot is designed to last the entire season. If possible, individuals should get vaccinated in September or October before the virus peaks. To minimize potential transmission of COVID-19, many pediatricians’ offices and pharmacies, including Express Rx, are offering drive-thru flu clinics. Health experts believe the benefits of receiving these routine, lifesaving immunizations vastly outweighs the potential for exposure to COVID-19.

For some parents, COVID-19 has made the approaching flu season more stressful than ever. If you have lingering questions about getting your family vaccinated, visit with your local pharmacist at Express Rx, the ADH or other trusted healthcare professional.