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Local health experts give advice on flu shots during COVID-19

Posted at 10:49 PM, Oct 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-10 02:18:15-04

Medical experts say they have seen a lot of interest in the vaccine this year, but some say they have concerns about getting the shot during the pandemic.

"So many people are getting COVID right now and it’s a little scary," Oceano resident Marisol Renterie said.

Flu shot signs have been posted across the Central Coast, several offering the flu shot for free this fall. A free flu shot clinic at San Marcos High School went through their entire supply of flu shots Friday.

“In general I know they’re trying to make more flu shots this year since there is extra importance due to COVID," Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center Infection Preventionist Chris Ecker said.

Like most people, Ecker doesn't like to get shots either, but he says it's important to overcome your fears.

“I hate getting vaccinations I hate needles they scare me, but I still get a flu shot because I hate the flu even more," Ecker said.

Some people who typically get their flu shot, say they'll skip it this year.

"We don’t want to expose ourselves to going in and for whatever reason catching COVID since you can catch it anywhere," Guadalupe Morey, a Pismo Beach resident, said.

Health officials have expressed concerned over a "twindemic" but say COVID-19 could actually help with the flu season.

“One benefit to wearing the masks, good hand hygiene, and social distancing is we’re predicting a fairly low or slow flu season," Ecker said.

While data on COVID-19 is limited, some studies suggest the flu shot may help with the virus as well.

“To some extent there may be some protective capability in the flu shot in dealing with COVID. Nothing major but any little thing helps," Ecker said.

Ecker says medical experts won't see the peak number of flu cases until the early months of 2021. The concern right now is the combination of flu and COVID-19.

The San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department will be holding free drive thru flu shot clinics in Arroyo Grande and Atascadero on Wednesday, Oct. 21 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.