Flu Vaccines are Critical for People with Certain Chronic Conditions

The holidays are here, and while that means more opportunities for spreading cheer, there is also more opportunity for spreading not just COVID-19, but also flu and other respiratory viruses.

As to the flu, health experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are particularly concerned about people who are already at higher risk of developing serious flu complications. People with certain chronic health conditions, like asthma, heart disease and diabetes, are at higher risk of developing these complications, and of hospitalization or even death. In past flu seasons, 9 out of 10 adults hospitalized with flu had at least one reported underlying medical condition.

“CDC estimates that only about half of adults 18 to 64 years of age with at least one chronic health condition received a flu vaccine last season,” said Dr. Michael Jhung, a medical officer with CDC’s Influenza Division. “This means many people who are most vulnerable to getting very sick with flu are not getting the protection they need.”

You still have time to get the flu vaccine

While it is ideal to get a flu vaccine before flu starts spreading in your community, getting vaccinated later is still beneficial during most seasons. Flu most commonly peaks in February, and significant activity can continue into May, so there is still time to get vaccinated if you haven’t already. Go to your doctor or local pharmacy to get your flu vaccine, encourage your loved ones to get their flu vaccine, and learn more about the benefits of getting vaccinated against flu. Older people should check with their doctor about which flu vaccine is best for them.

Did you know? Flu vaccines are the only vaccines that protect against flu

Flu and COVID-19 are different diseases caused by different viruses. Flu vaccines protect against the four flu viruses that research indicates will be the most common during flu season, and COVID-19 vaccines protect against the virus that causes COVID-19. One vaccine is not a substitute or a replacement for the other.

Both vaccines are recommended, and it’s important that people be up to date on their recommended flu and COVID-19 vaccines. In fact, a flu vaccine and a COVID-19 vaccine can be given during the same visit, if the timing coincides.

Additional information about the seriousness of flu and the benefits of flu vaccination can be found on the CDC website or by calling the CDC at 1-800-CDC-INFO.