Two Emory University doctors stressed the importance of getting a flu shot this year – to avoid what they call the “twindemic” of Covid-19 and influenza.

Dr. Carlos del Rio, executive associate dean of Emory University School of Medicine at Grady Health System, said now is not the time to lower our guard and become “complacent.”

“When Dr. Fauci said the other day, ‘We need to hunker down,’ I think what he was saying is: We need to really reinforce social distancing, masking, handwashing, and I would add to that, influenza vaccination,” del Rio said during a Monday webinar.

For the flu, “we have a vaccine. Use it,” he added.

Dr. Walter Orenstein, associate director of the Emory Vaccine Center, said the middle-of-the-road effectiveness of the flu vaccine should not deter people from getting it.

“For the 2019-20 season, the estimated effectiveness is 38% overall. While these estimates are not optimal for a vaccine want – we’d like a more effective vaccine – they are still a lot better than 0%, which is the effectiveness of no vaccination,” Orenstein said.

Orenstein said the flu is not “a trivial illness,” as some people tend to think.

And by getting the vaccine, you’re protecting others, del Rio added.

“The effectiveness of the vaccine decreases with age,” del Rio said. “So if I get myself and my kids immunized, I protect my parents – my elderly parents – better, because even though they may not be protected from the vaccine, the fact that the close network of individuals they have is protected, protects them.”



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