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FLU VACCINE: Health experts urge public to get flu shots to avoid ‘twindemic’

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- As we say goodbye to the last few weeks of summer, health officials are ramping up recommendations to the public to get a flu vaccine now more than ever.

This is in light of a possible "twindemic" of the flu and COVID-19.

Mayo Clinic Infectious Diseases and Vaccine expert Dr. Priya Sampathkumar

Mayo Clinic Infectious Diseases and Vaccine expert Dr. Priya Sampathkumar said the symptoms are so similar it will be hard to tell which one you have without getting tested.

Promoting the flu vaccine is one way to mitigate a flu pandemic and try to stop a "twindemic" Sampathkumar said.

The flu vaccine site will be at the Northwest clinic on 41st Street, and patients can also get a flu vaccine at a doctors visit starting Oct. 12.

Dr. Sampathkumar said the best time to get a vaccine would be now through the beginning of December.

As of now, Mayo Clinic is working on a flu plan that will serve as a test trial for how they will safely get the COVID-19 vaccine out once it becomes available.

The good news is that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced a potential COVID-19 vaccine could be available as early as Nov. 1.

There are two products developed by Pfizer and Moderna that are in late stages of phase 3 for testing.

Sampathkumar said the Moderna vaccine is more advanced.

"What is injected into the person is actually a genetic component that when it enters the cell it induces it, makes the cell produce proteins that are then protective against COVID," Sampathkumar said. "So it's very new technology. There are no other MRNA vaccine previously licensed."

While we are still a couple months out from a possible COVID vaccine, health officials are urging people to get the flu vaccine not only to protect themselves, but also to assist the health care system.

"The flu clinics are going to be trial runs for getting people the COVID vaccine in a safe manner," Sampathkumar said.

As of now the CDC and public health officials have not put out recommendations on who would get the COVID-19 vaccine first.

"We are hoping in the next 4 to 6 weeks those guidelines will come up. You know, a lot of it dependent on the supplies," Dr. Sampathkumar said.

Ubah Ali

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