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Health officials continue to urge flu shots

By CJ HADDAD - | Oct 21, 2020

cjhaddad@breezenewspapers.com

Local health officials are urging the public to get vaccinated for the flu while COVID-19 continues to be present in the community.

Millions of Americans contract the flu each year with hundreds of thousands hospitalized and tens of thousands dying from flu-related causes.

Lee Health officials called this year’s flu season a “perfect storm” as coronavirus lingers and want to remind the public to receive the vaccine before flu viruses begin to spread throughout Southwest Florida.

“Due to the coronavirus, this flu season will be unlike any other that we have experienced in the past,” said Alex Daneshmand, D.O., MBA, FAAP, Chief Quality and Patient Safety Officer at Lee Health. “Although we have been trending downward with COVID-19 cases, we don’t know what is going to happen as we move into fall and winter. Getting a flu vaccine is more important than ever as we want to take every precaution to protect ourselves and our community.”

According to Lee Health, flu vaccines have been shown to reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalization and death while also saving valuable health care resources for COVID-19 patient care.

“Studies have shown that many at higher risk from flu also seem to be at higher risk from COVID-19, including pregnant women, people with chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart and lung disease, and those 65 years and older,” a Lee Health release states. “The flu is spread by air-borne respiratory droplets and contaminated surfaces. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone six months and older get a flu vaccine. Last season, the CDC estimates that fewer than half of Americans got a flu vaccine and at least 410,000 people were hospitalized from