SRINAGAR – Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Friday said flu vaccine in times of Covid crisis is more important than ever.
“As the flu season is just around the corner, addition of another respiratory illness on top of ongoing Covid-19 pandemic could overburden the health care system and compound efforts to stamp out the novel coronavirus,” said DAK President and influenza expert Dr Nisar ul Hassan.
“Since we are expecting another surge of Covid in this fall and winter, it is important to conserve hospital resources for those with Covid,” he said
“Flu vaccines can take a big burden off our medical infrastructure. And if we can keep people out of hospital with flu, we can better deal with the likely upswing in Covid infections,” he added.
Dr Hassan said you can catch the flu and Covid at the same time and that increases your risk of ending up in ICU or on a ventilator.
“Flu can weaken your immune system, which could make you susceptible to getting Covid and make it harder for you to fight off,” he said.
The DAK President said getting a flu shot will decrease a person’s risk of getting Co-infection of both the flu and Covid-19. It will also limit the confusion over the two viral infections, which have similar symptoms, and free up hospital beds to treat patients with Covid-19.
He said last year flu season was mild due to mitigation measures in place because to Covid-19 pandemic.
However, as we participate in more in-person activities, we expect that influenza could circulate at much higher levels this fall and winter.
“Flu vaccine is the single best way to protect you and people around you from getting flu. It reduces the chances of serious illness, hospitalization and death,” Dr Nisar said.
He said everyone 6 months and older should get the annual flu vaccine before the start of flu season which begins in October and can last as late as May. Since it takes two weeks for flu vaccine to become fully effective, it is best to get the vaccine now. However, vaccination should continue to be offered throughout the flu season.
“While the vaccine is recommended for all, it is especially needed in young children, elderly, pregnant women and people with medical conditions,” he added.