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Local health officials concerned about the flu season ahead

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Posted at 6:27 PM, Sep 23, 2021

This upcoming flu season is causing concern among medical experts.

Local pharmacies like Rite Aid and Walgreens are already offering community members free flu shots.

"Last year, in the U.S., flu season was very light due to masking, due to social distancing, that sort of thing,” said Chris Ecker, Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center Infection Preventionist.

With children back in school and relaxed mitigation measures like stay-at-home orders and mask mandates, flu activity could increase, prompting health officials to recommend residents get the flu shot as early as possible.

"I would especially encourage anyone who is immunocompromised, younger or older to really think about getting a flu vaccine,” Ecker said.

With people still getting their COVID-19 vaccines, the question of whether someone could get both the COVID-19 vaccine and the flu shot on the same day comes up.

According to the CDC, the answer to that is, yes.

In a statement, the CDC says, "COVID-19 vaccines may be administered without regard to timing of other vaccines. This includes simultaneous administration of COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines on the same day."

Some local residents say they’ve already had both shots, while others say they'd prefer not to get the flu vaccine and continue to take safety measures like mask-wearing instead.

"I am not working anymore in and around people with my job so that is also another factor for me,” said Arroyo Grande resident Gigi Long.

The CDC says they encourage people to get the flu and the COVID-19 shot due to both viruses sharing similar symptoms.

"It's important to remember with the flu vaccine it's kind of like the COVID vaccine so it takes two weeks for the body to develop the antibodies that you are looking for to help with immunity and fighting the viruses,” Ecker said.

Health officials recommend people get their flu shot before October 31, adding it will protect people throughout the entire season.