SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – As the fight against COVID-19 continues, manufacturers of the influenza vaccine project they’ll supply more than 30 million more doses of the flu shot to healthcare facilities nationwide. One of Utah’s healthcare system’s shares how they’re prepared to vaccinate more people than ever before; and what some Utahns have to say about getting the flu shot.
Intermountain Healthcare’s Family Medicine Medical Director Dr. Mark Greenwood said it’s important Utahns get the flu shot this year.
“If we vaccinate our population against the flu, it will help us know – or which to suspect – flu or COVID, the more people we have vaccinated for flu,” Greenwood said.
In preparation for the upcoming flu season, Greenwood said Intermountain Healthcare is prepared.
“Intermountain generally vaccinates 200,000 to 300,000 people each winter,” Greenwood said. “Now, that’s just Intermountain for each season for the flu. We have ordered an extra approximately 25 percent.”
To ensure Utahns have the opportunity to be vaccinated, Greenwood said other healthcare systems throughout the state have also ordered an extra supply.
“I get a flu shot every year. And I’ve actually already gotten mine,” said Park City resident Lindsay Ochella.
Ochella said a flu shot is something she believes is important, especially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think anything that keeps your immune system healthy and functioning as well as it could,” Ochella said, “if you have something like the flu that already brings your immune system down and you’re more susceptible to other things, so I think it’s a little more important this year.”
“I don’t usually get flu shots,” said Sugarhouse resident Ellie Percy.
Percy said she’s a strong believer in immune systems and does not plan to get the flu shot this fall.
“I just believe in taking care of our bodies and eating healthy and getting our nutrition in,” Percy said. “But if you feel like a flu shot is gonna protect and help you, then to each their own.”
Dr. Greenwood said the optimal time to get a flu shot is between the end of September and October, but said anytime is ‘good’.
He said flu and COVID-19 symptoms are similar.
“They’re flu-like illnesses, right? Cough, fever, aches, fatigue, congestion, and some cases, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea,” Greenwood said.
If you or someone you know don’t feel well, Greenwood encourages people to check with their doctor.
At time of publication, the Center’s for Disease Control reports flu activity is low.