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Dr. Fauci Urges Americans to Get the Flu Vaccine This Fall

“Two respiratory infections circulating together” could wreak major damage.
Doctor filling syringe with medication, closeup. Vaccination and immunization

Early in the pandemic, health experts hoped that COVID-19 would settle down during the summer months, as heat tends to quell the infectious nature of many viruses, including the flu. However, it has become clear with the recent surge of record-breaking coronavirus infections, hospitalizations, and deaths across the country—especially in southern states—that this isn't the case. Looking to the future, experts are focusing their efforts on figuring out how the COVID-19 is going to interact with another highly infectious and potentially deadly virus: the flu. In a new interview with  MarketWatch, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, tackles the question of what is going to happen when the coronavirus pandemic meets flu season. 

Two Infections Circulating

"How concerned are you that the U.S. will face a flu season and a rise in coronavirus cases in the winter or fall?" the publication asked one of the key members of the Coronavirus Task Force. 

"If, in fact, and I hope it isn't the case, we have significant COVID-19 activity as we go into the fall and winter season, that will be problematic and complicate things because that's two respiratory infections circulating together," Fauci admitted. 

Because of the potential double infection, Fauci encourages everyone to do one thing this fall. This, "is one of the reasons why we're telling people that, when the flu vaccine becomes available, make sure you get vaccinated so that you could at least blunt the effect of one of those two potential respiratory infections," he stated. 

The CDC is also in-line with Fauci's suggestion. "While it's not possible to say with certainty what will happen in the fall and winter, CDC believes it's likely that flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will both be spreading. In this context, getting a flu vaccine will be more important than ever. CDC recommends that all people 6 months and older get a yearly flu vaccine," they write. 

And, yes, you can be infected with both viruses simultaneously. "It is possible have flu (as well as other respiratory illnesses) and COVID-19 at the same time. Experts are still studying how common this can be," they add. 

As to when you should get the flu shot, the CDC maintains that "September and October are good times to get vaccinated." "Getting vaccinated in July or August is too early, especially for older people, because of the likelihood of reduced protection against flu infection later in the flu season," they explain. As for yourself, get that flu shot when it's available, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 37 Places You're Most Likely to Catch Coronavirus.

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