FRIDAY, Oct. 2, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu shot this season, the American Medical Association (AMA) says.
With the coronavirus pandemic raging, a flu shot is more important than ever to protect yourself, your loved ones and your community from the flu.
"Routine vaccination is essential preventive care for children, adolescents and adults -- including pregnant women -- that should not be delayed because of the pandemic," said AMA President Dr. Susan Bailey.
Experts have warned that a "twindemic" of flu and COVID-19 could overwhelm the health care system.
Just as wearing a mask helps prevent spread of the new coronavirus, getting a flu shot helps prevent people from getting sick and spreading flu to others.
Flu shots also shield people who can't get vaccinated, including very young children, cancer patients and those with weakened immune systems. When immunization rates are high, these people are protected becausethey'reless likely to be exposed to the flu.
"This fall, an important reason to get a flu vaccine is to do your part to help conserve scarce medical resources as health care workers continue to fight COVID-19," Bailey said in an AMA news release.
Flu activity increases in October and most often peaks between December and February. But it can last as late as May. Fall is the ideal time to get the flu vaccine, but it's never too late.
"We need to realize that we are all interconnected, and during this pandemic, getting vaccinated is a step to protect our individual and collective health," Bailey said.
The COVID-19 pandemic may affect when, where and how flu shots are given, according to the AMA. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has an online tool to help patients find nearby places to get vaccinated.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on flu season.
SOURCE: American Medical Association, news release, Sept. 30, 2020