Memorial Healthcare System Urges South Florida Residents to Take Flu Season Seriously in the Wake of COVID-19

Flu shots are available throughout the community and encouraged by healthcare professionals

arm injection vaccination

The onset of flu season and the possible spike of COVID-19 cases this fall may create a serious health threat in communities while challenging healthcare systems in South Florida. This phenomena recently coined in the press as a “Twindemic” is referring to a possible surge of COVID-19 and a rise of flu cases this fall.

To help prevent this and curb the number of flu cases, Memorial experts are urging South Floridians to get the annual flu vaccine.

“By getting a flu vaccine you are protecting yourself, your loved ones, and our frontline healthcare workers from the real concern of facing a flu and COVID-19 surge,” said Dr. Paula A. Eckardt, Chief of Infectious Disease at Memorial Healthcare System.

Dr. Paula Eckardt maskedDr. Paula Eckardt, Chief of Infectious Diseases

“The flu is a preventable illness and the vaccine is readily available at your primary care physician, pharmacy, select major grocers and through our Memorial Urgent Care Centers.”

October through March is typically known as flu season in North America, however Florida starts to see cases as early as September due to international travel from the Southern Hemisphere. The composition of U.S. flu vaccines is reviewed annually and updated as needed to match circulating flu viruses.

As of August, there is still no vaccine for COVID-19.

A few more facts about the flu shot:

  • Flu shots do not cause the flu. The vaccine contains an inactive virus, meaning it is not “live.” While you may have some pain in the spot of the actual injection and mild symptoms, you should not experience typical flu symptoms as a result.
  • If you are over 65, there is a special vaccine for you. Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent contains four times the antigen, the part of the vaccine that helps your body build up protection against flu viruses. The higher dose of antigen in the vaccine is intended to give older people a better immune response, and therefore, better protection against flu.
  • People with egg allergies should speak with their primary care physician, because there is a flu vaccine for you.
  • Most pregnant women are encouraged to get the flu vaccine. Getting vaccinated also can help protect a baby after birth from flu, as mothers pass antibodies onto the developing baby during her pregnancy, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Experts recommend pregnant women to get a flu shot no matter how far along she is in her pregnancy.
Rachel Guran maskedRachel Guran, Director of Epidemiology and Infection Prevention

“From babies to parents to grandparents, almost everyone can, and should, get a flu shot,” adds Rachel Guran, MPH, BSN, RN, CIC, Director of Epidemiology and Infection Prevention, Memorial Healthcare System.

“The bottom line is that flu shots are more important than ever this year, and we can all take the right steps to protect ourselves and our families as we attempt to regain a sense of normalcy during these unprecedented times.”

To share more information with the community, Guran recently debunked a few myths about the flu shot vaccine on our blog.