NORFOLK, Va. - Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, local doctors are getting the word out: Don't forget the flu. With flu season around the corner, there's a push to make sure you're prepared against both viruses.
Family physician Dr. Ryan Light said a lot of people are asking more about the COVID-19 booster shot as he and others are getting the word out to get vaccinated against both COVID-19 and the flu.
“Flu shots are every year. We’ve been doing that for years. COVID doesn’t take precedence over that,” Light said. “I think it’s just at the back of the mind. We aren’t putting that reminder out to the public that says, ‘Hey, flu shots are still important. Don’t forget about the flu.'"
Light said getting vaccinated for both viruses cuts out confusion.
“[The] flu still has significant illness, and you can get confused between COVID and the flu because they have very similar symptoms, so there’s not a lot separating them,” Light said. “There’s nothing saying you couldn’t get COVID and the flu on top of it. They’re two different viruses, and they can come together. You wouldn’t want to get your immune system wiped out by the flu and then have COVID come in behind it.”
For Norfolk eighth grader Eli Nicholls, he got the COVID-19 vaccine to be more safe.
“I think I’ll be more safe than kids that don’t have the vaccine,” he said.
The same goes for Heidi Temostle, who chose to get the shot after her sisters got it for college -- and to protect her and others.
“It’s good for other people,” Temostle told News 3. “You never know what someone might have. You never know who the person right next to you walking by might have.”
But both students say they're not done rolling up their sleeves yet.
As October approaches, they're also planning on getting their flu vaccine.
“For me, I kind of have a weak immune system, so I just usually take it because I know that I’m going to probably need it,” Temostle said.
Temostle hopes others, especially students, continue rolling up their sleeves.
“You just want to be extra careful,” she said. “You could never know... maybe you have COVID? Maybe you have the flu?”
Light emphasized there's no interaction between the COVID and flu vaccines and it's okay to get both.
He also told News 3 it's never too early to get the flu vaccine, and your shot will last throughout the season, even if you get it now.
For more information on CDC guidance regarding flu vaccine services during the COVID-19 pandemic, click here.