As California prepares for a severe flu season, doctors are demanding a shot with or without a COVID booster

Getting a flu shot is extra necessary than ever this 12 months, Bay Area infectious illness consultants say. More than two years of the COVID-19 pandemic have created situations — together with decrease flu vaccination charges and fewer pure immunity than earlier than the pandemic — that would make the upcoming flu season one of many worst in years.

Flu vaccination charges in California and throughout the nation have been down within the 2020-2021 flu season in comparison with 2019-2020, which consultants attribute partially to the COVID lockdown or extra folks delaying non-emergency medical visits, together with some vaccinations. At the identical time, widespread obligatory COVID masks in Bay Area public locations in 2020 and most of 2021 have decreased total flu transmission charges — that means fewer folks now have pure immunity.

“There hasn’t been a lot flu within the final couple of years,” mentioned Dr. Jeffrey Silvers, medical director of pharmacy and an infection management at Sutter Health. “Last season we had fairly a bit, however we will predict that we could have a flu season this 12 months and it could be greater than what we’re used to.”

Silver’s take-home message: “People ought to get vaccinated this 12 months. It’s essential and I might say extra necessary than the preparation of the previous few years.”

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