EUGENE, Ore. -- Medical experts have repeatedly emphasized the importance of getting a flu vaccine during the pandemic, and they say that lessons learned from the pandemic can help encourage higher flu shot rates in the future.
Doctors and public health experts have been fighting off misinformation about flu shots for years now, but this year, Oregon Medical Group pediatrician Dr. Laura Sanderson reports seeing more enthusiasm as patients seek out vaccinations.
"This year, people are more receptive. I think the word is out that its more important this year than ever," she said.
According to Sanderson, the medical system is often already stretched thin due to the flu alone, and the possible addition of COVID-19 hospitalizations could be overwhelming. For individuals, the combination of flu and coronavirus could be a deadly mix.
"We can't always predict who is going to get really sick from COVID and from flu," Sanderson said.
As people around the country increasingly accept masking and social distancing as effective COVID-19 precautions, Sanderson hopes that a mindset of protecting the health of the community can be applied to the flu shot.
"The flu vaccine is a similar ask. Not only are you protecting yourself from serious complications from the flu, but you are protecting the loved ones around you, your community," she said. "If we have learned anything from the pandemic, we can't just think about ourselves and our own individual safety."
Sanderson said that the side effects of the flu shot are typically minimal, with the possibility of a touch of soreness or fatigue.