Doctors with OMRF stress importance of flu shot

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – “Sometimes the flu seasons are mild, and the vaccines are very effective and we don’t see many hospitalizations and deaths but sometimes the flu that goes around, the annual flu, is severe,” said Dr. Eliza Chakravarty, an associate member of Arthritis & Clinical Immunology Research Program at OMRF. 

Becuase of that risk, doctors say it’s important to get your flu vaccination, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic

“The immune response that it’s going to take to fight either infection is overwhelming, but if you’ve added a second one onto that it may be the difference between being in the hospital, not being in the hospital, being on a ventilator… even dying,” said Dr. Chakravarty. 

She says the flu shot cannot give you the flu but simply arms your immune system against the virus. 

If you’re worried about a heightened risk of COVID-19 while your body adjusts to the vaccine, Dr. Chakravarty says they don’t think it should be an issue. 

“We don’t believe that while you’re making a response to a particular vaccine,that you’re more vulnerable to other infections … but you’re also not protected,” she said. “You don’t have to make a trade off. Am I willing to take this risk of being more susceptible in order to protect myself down the road?”

Doctors also say practicing the COVID-19 safety steps we’ve gotten used to, can play a big role in keeping flu numbers down as well.

“Should the mask wearing and hand washing help minimize the number of flu cases that we see?” we asked. 

“Ideally it should minimize those cases,” said Dr. Chakravarty. 

The reminder, she says, not to spread fear… rather, to prepare. 

“People survive the flu, and certainly people survive COVID. We don’t know who is going to survive who is not going to make it,” she said. 

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