Health officials in Colorado have ordered thousands of extra doses of the flu vaccine to prepare for the possibility of two serious respiratory viruses — influenza and COVID-19 — hitting the state at the same time.
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Nearly every health official, from small-town clinics to the CDC is recommending everyone get the flu vaccine this year.
Dr. Eric France, chief medical officer with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, said every October, medical facilities and personnel across the country start ramping up for any and all of the different viruses that can hit a community.
This year, there's clearly COVID-19 to worry about, but also the encroaching yearly flu season. Every year, the flu kills tens of thousands of Americans. Last season, the flu landed 3,500 Coloradans in the hospital, France said. Add that to the impact of increased COVID-19 cases and doctors, nurses, clinics, hospitals and nursing homes could become potentially overwhelmed by the dual impact, he said.
While the flu shot is not shown to protect against coronavirus, medical experts say it will keep you healthy this fall and winter and therefore more able to fight the coronavirus if you get it.
The CDC estimates that between October 1, 2019 to April 4, 2020, roughly 40 to 56 million Americans got the flu virus. Of those, between 24,000 to 62,000 Americans died from flu-related causes. These are estimates because many people self-treat and recover from the flu at home without seeing a healthcare professional, so the tracking may be off.
However, the CDC estimates flu cases will be higher in 2020 because of the overlap with the coronavirus and an increase in testing to rule out COVID-19 infections.