CDC: Getting your flu shot this year is more important than ever

Health

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The Center for Disease Control (CDC) said while flu activity is low right now, everyone should still get their annual flu shot, especially since symptoms for the flu can be easily confused with COVID-19.

A new report from the CDC said getting the flu shot is critical this year now more than ever and recommends everyone 6 months and older get the vaccine.

“The flu season can complicate things,” Medical Director for Lifespan Urgent Care Dr. Oliver Gherardi said. “I think by getting the flu vaccine it will help to avoid any further oppression onto the organizations.”

Gherardi said last year, an estimated 39 to 56 million people in the United States got the flu and the Rhode Island Department of Health reports that there were 444 people were hospitalized with the flu last year.

It’s unclear what this year’s flu season will look like, but everyone should continue to wash your hands and wear a mask, Gherardi said.

“All those measures will hopefully help avoid a more major flu season this year,” he said.

Gherardi said Lifespan’s urgent care centers are offering the flu shot and Julia Tiberi, a manager for a CVS Pharmacy in Cumberland, said they began giving flu shots within the first few weeks of August.

“We’ve definitely been busier compared to past years,” Tiberi said.

She said getting the flu vaccine is a quick process and most insurance companies usually cover it at no cost.

“If you actually don’t have an insurance, the state of Rhode Island gives us a certain supply that we can give out to Rhode Islanders and it’s at no charge,” Tiberi said.

Tiberi said the flu shot the state provides should be available within the next few weeks and suggests those who are interested to call their local pharmacy before making the trip to get the vaccine.

She also said to make the process faster, patients can pre-register through the CVS app or online.

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