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GP in Claremont. Nov. 10, 2021 — The flu shot is far less effective than the COVID-19 vaccines, causes more side effects and targets an infectious disease that most people survive, with the flu killing only a fraction of those who die from coronavirus.

So should you even bother getting a flu shot this year?

Health experts say the short answer is yes.

They point to three key reasons federal health authorities recommend the flu shot for everyone 6 months old and older:

The vaccine is the most effective way to protect yourself and others from the flu, which kills an average of 36,000 Americans every year, and flu-related complications.

Side effects from the shot are very rare and typically mild– primarily soreness where the needle went into your skin, headache, fever, nausea, muscle aches, and fatigue.

With COVID-19 expected to surge in the coming weeks as Americans travel and gather for the winter holidays, this is not the year to risk becoming hospitalized for the flu or other preventable diseases.

“It’s really important to reduce the risk of getting the flu, which is what the flu vaccine does,” says Leana Wen, MD, an emergency medicine doctor and public health policy professor at George Washington University. “This is particularly important this year when we could very well face the confluence of influenza and COVID-19.”

She notes that flu shots, as well as COVID-19 vaccines, don’t protect only those who receive them.

“Getting vaccinated against both the flu and COVID protects against both and reduces the likelihood of spreading these viruses to others,” says Wen, author of the newly published book Lifelines: A Doctor’s Journey in the Fight for Public Health.

Gigi Gronvall, MD, an infectious disease specialist with the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, agrees that getting a flu shot is critical this year, noting influenza can also lead to other life-threatening illnesses, such as pneumonia, which kills tens of thousands of Americans annually. GP in Claremont.

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