Duke Health doctor encourages people to get both a COVID-19 vaccine and flu shot


DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — While there has been a huge push for people to get a COVID-19 vaccine, the flu shot is also available.

“We were really worried last year we were going to have this twin epidemic with COVID and flu. Actually, what ended up happening is really didn’t have a flu season. Not much of one,” said Dr. Thomas Holland with Duke Health.

Holland said that’s because people were doing the things to protect themselves from COVID-19 that helped against the flu.

He said simply, the flu didn’t go anywhere. It’s still around. Holland said behaviors, for instance wearing masks, could impact flu numbers.

However, could we see a surge of people going out to get the flu vaccine?

“Certainly, we are all more comfortable with it because it has been around for a while. So, hopefully, that helps with (an) uptick for it. The fact of the matter is the flu shot is not as effective as the COVID-19 vaccines actually,” Holland explained.

“The COVID vaccines are effective in preventing severe disease and hospitalizations. Even better than the flu shot,” he added.

A new study reveals the flu shot may provide significant protection against some of the most serious complications from a coronavirus infection.

Researchers from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine say they discovered that the basic flu shot lowers the risk of stroke, sepsis, and blood clots in patients with COVID-19.

The study also shows COVID-19 patients who have gotten the flu shot are also less likely to go to the hospital or ICU.

“I wouldn’t expect or anticipate that the flu shot protects you from COVID or that the COVID shot protects you from flu. I think the right message is that these are two separate infections. We have vaccines that work for each of them,” Holland said.

Holland said this means the best bet is to get both a COVID-19 vaccine and the flu shot.

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