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Doctors urge vaccinations as flu season nears

Infectious disease specialists at Geisinger say that it could be dangerous to fight COVID-19 and the flu at the same time.

DANVILLE, Pa. — Flu season is coming, and while the flu shot is not 100 percent effective at preventing influenza, the Centers for Disease Control recommends you get vaccinated.

With the recent spike in COVID-19 cases, doctors say it's important to get vaccinated against both the coronavirus and the flu.

The change of seasons means flu season is right around the corner. Most doctors recommend you get a flu shot now, so you are protected in time.

"It's effective, it's safe, and it's easy to get. You can go just about anywhere and get the flu shot these days," said Dr. Stanley Martin, the director of infectious diseases at Geisinger.

Dr. Martin says typically, between 30,000 and 50,000 people die from the flu each year. Last year was an exception as most people wore masks out in public.

"We have no reason to believe this year may be like last year. It could be like any other prior year. In other words, we could have just as much flu this year as we have had in past years."

With COVID-19 cases on the rise, Dr. Martin recommends getting vaccinated against both the coronavirus and the flu. It could be dangerous to get both viruses at the same time.

"It could result in a much more severe disease and wind up in the hospital, wind up on a ventilator, in an ICU, and all the nastiness that goes along with that."

Dr. Martin says it's not only about protecting yourself.

"If you get the flu, maybe you'll be OK. But you're going to spread the flu to a couple of other people, and they're going to spread it to a couple of other people."

Geisinger is offering free flu shot clinics throughout the area. Find one near you here.