Flu Vaccine Efforts

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HAMILTON COUNTY, Tenn. (WDEF)- Leaders at the Hamilton County Health Department and CHI Memorial say because Covid-19 and flu symptoms are so similar getting a flu shot this year can can help you determine if you have Covid-19.

“You’ve got your fever, shortness of breath, headache, running/stuffy nose -the biggest difference is still that loss of taste or loss of smell when you’re looking at Covid” said Sharon Goforth of the Hamilton County Health Department.

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“Any illness we can prevent will cause fewer cases in which we have to try to figure out what’s going on” said Dr. Mark Anderson of CHI Memorial.

Goforth says it’s certainly possible to contract both viruses, “Obviously you don’t want that to happen. It’s an automatic double whammy on your system especially if you’re in one of our high risk groups.”

Dr.  Anderson says those high risk groups include older adults and people with chronic diseases, “Unfortunately, those people who need it the most tend to respond least well to the vaccine. We still recommend vaccines for those people but we have started giving it that are most likely to transmit influenza to those vulnerable. The two big groups are children and health care providers.”

Social distancing practices and masks can protect you from both covid and the flu according to the health department.

“I am hopeful that we are going see a decrease in both of those simply because we are starting to see more people taking those precautions” said Goforth.

CHI Memorial requires a flu vaccine for every staff member.

You can reach out to your health care provider or the health department to get your flu vaccine this year.