COVID-19

Five Reasons to Get a Flu Vaccine During a COVID-19 Pandemic

1. The flu could come back

If last year’s flu was shy enough, it could be back in effect this fall, believes Michael Curry, a professor at the University of British Columbia medical school. Influenza viruses are returning and circulating.

The relative absence of influenza viruses last season has reduces our immunityaccording to the province’s medical director of health, Bonnie Henry. This year, getting the flu vaccine is especially important.it notes in a press release.

Dr. Brian Conway, medical director of the Vancouver Center for Infectious Diseases, agrees: We had very few cases last year. So group immunity did not build up in the communities.

You are expected to have a potentially very serious flu season.

A quote from: Brian Conway, Medical Director, Vancouver Center for Infectious Diseases

2. Flu and COVID-19 May Not Mix Well

Given the relative absence of influenza cases last season, it is difficult to fully understand what a combined influenza and COVID-19 infection looks like.

Knowing that the flu leads to a reduction in the effectiveness of the immune system, this could be particularly serious for both infections, Dr. Conway feared.

3. Avoid congestion in hospitals

Influenza is a respiratory disease that represents a serious risk for people over 65 years of age, recall the health authorities, who seek to avoid overcrowding of hospitals, already under the pressure of COVID-19.

During the pandemic, it is important to minimize the morbidity and mortality associated with the parallel spread of influenza and COVID-19 to reduce the burden on the Canadian healthcare system.says Health Canada.

As we will be spending more time with our loved ones indoors, it is important to be fully immunized, both against COVID-19 and against the flu.

A quote from: Bonnie Henry, British Columbia Medical Director of Health

A caregiver vaccinates a patient.

British Columbia health officials have launched flu vaccination clinics.

Photo: (Evan Mitsui / CBC)

4. Combination of influenza and COVID-19 vaccines is safe

People immune to COVID-19 do not have to worry about receiving one more vaccine, according to health experts.

People tend to believe that vaccination stresses their immune system.says Dr. Curry of the University of British Columbia. However, the human body is already responding thousands, if not millions, of allergens and microscopic lives every day, he argument.

All COVID-19 vaccines can be combined with another vaccine, either inactivated or live, says the BC Center for Disease Control.

In fact, 99.9% of vaccines can be combinedsays Ajit Johal, chief medical and pharmaceutical officer for Immunize.io, a nonprofit organization that promotes vaccination. Since COVID-19 and influenza have different immune responses, receiving both vaccines provides better protection.

There is no danger, on the contrary, there are several advantages.

A quote from: Brian Conway, Medical Director, Vancouver Center for Infectious Diseases

If you get the flu, it can make the COVID-19 vaccine less effective. We must ensure that the COVID-19 vaccine is as effective as possibleargues Dr. Conway.

A group of people walk along a sidewalk.  One person is on a bicycle.

The relative absence of influenza viruses last season has lowered the population’s immunity, according to Health Chief Medical Officer Bonnie Henry.

Photo: Canadian Press / Andrew Vaughan

5. Optimizing the efficacy of an imperfect vaccine

On the other hand, the flu vaccine usually optimized depending on the dominant strains the previous year.

With little data on flu cases last season, There is a strong possibility that the vaccine used this year does not match perfectly with the viral strains that are circulating in the community.explains Dr. Conway.

It is important for people to get vaccinated to optimize the effectiveness of a vaccine that may be imperfect., concludes.

In Canada, the National Immunization Advisory Committee (NACI) recommends influenza vaccination for people older than 6 months.

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