Flu Season Approaches With Coronavirus Still Spreading

Flu season is approaching and the coronavirus pandemic shows no signs of dissipating.

“This is a hugely important point: we do not want to have two epidemics going at the same time. That is not good, that will overwhelm the system,” said Professor Brad Pollock, chair of the UC Davis Department of Public Health on KCBS Radio’s “Ask An Expert.”

“Every year you’ll have on average 30-40,000 influenza related deaths, so we don't want to have that matrixed on top of a COVID epidemic,” he said.

That is why Pollock, like many public health officials, are saying that everyone who can should get the flu shot this year.

In fact, at the UC system where he works, it is required.

“We mandate this at all of our UC medical centers, you can’t be an employee there without having your flu vaccination every year,” he explained. “This is now being broadened out to all the UC campuses, influenza vaccinations will be required.”

He says while people may have concerns about getting the flu shot and a COVID-19 vaccine at the same time, the coronavirus vaccine mostly likely will not be ready until next year, and the country has to make it through flu season between now and then.

“It is absolutely important to have people vaccinated for influenza, particularly this season,” Pollack said.

There is one small upside; the habits people have adopted to reduce coronavirus transmission should make the flu less likely to spread as well.