Doctors urge people to get vaccinated against the flu

Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 6:55 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - There is good and bad news about the upcoming fall virus season. The number of COVID-19 cases is dropping nationwide, especially in South Carolina.

But doctors like Willie Underwood with the American Medical Association are worried the flu could be worse, and perhaps much worse, than last year.

He says that is partly because of the safety steps we took last year to prevent COVID-19, which worked to help stop the flu, as well.

Underwood listed some of the safety practices that worked, including social distancing, not interacting with others, wearing a mask, and children learning from home.

Dr. Leandris Liburd with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it’s especially important for those in the Black and Hispanic communities to get flu shots because there is a historic pattern of fewer people in these two groups getting vaccinated.

She worries about underlying conditions like heart disease, lung disease, diabetes and other conditions that have compromised the immune system could make the flu worse or even deadly.

In the meantime, Underwood recommends getting a “twofer,” both a flu shot and COVID vaccine at the same time.

“So, if you’re getting one, get the other if you can, because we’ve tested it, they’ve looked at it and it’s extremely, extremely -- and I’m going to say it again -- extremely safe to do so,” Underwood says.

Liburd also says it’s really important for Black parents to make sure their kids get the flu shots because right now in the Black community, flu vaccine coverage is under 50 percent across the country.

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