Getting the flu vaccine is more important this year than it ever has been before, said Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“It’s really important for people to get flu vaccine,” she said, speaking at a JAMA Live event on Monday. “We recommend everybody six months and over get a flu vaccine and this year more than ever.”
People want to avoid getting flu anyway, during normal times, Schuchat said. Averting flu during the Covid-19 pandemic could prevent people from having to get tested for other respiratory illnesses.
“The kind of person that should be tested for Covid probably should be tested for flu, and they can have both at the same time,” she said. Data from China has suggested that people can have both viruses at the same time, Schuchat said.
CDC has developed a test that looks for both flu strains and Covid-19 at the same time. It’s being reviewed by the US Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization.
“We’ve also updated guidance about how to get vaccine out in this era,” Schuchat said. “You don’t really want a big, mass crowd of people,” she added. There is also guidance on how to distance while you’re getting a flu vaccine.