As the United States surpasses 200,000 deaths from COVID-19 and flu season inches closer, Los Angeles health officials are urging residents to get flu shots and protect themselves from a possible “twindemic.”
Health professionals are also worried that contracting the flu and COVID-19 at the same time could be deadly.
“We are positive that we will have both influenza and COVID-19 circulating at the same time,” L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer warned the L.A. Board of Supervisors.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that during the 2018-2019 flu season, the flu vaccination coverage among adults over the age of 18 was 45.3%. In 2019, the World Health Organization identified vaccine hesitancy — “the refusal to vaccinate despite the availability of vaccines” — as one of the leading global health crises.
The CDC reported that as of Sept. 11, over 66 million flu vaccines have been distributed.
Dr. Linda Reid-Chassiakos, director of the Klotz Student Health Center at CSUN, said that flu vaccinations will be a vital part of fighting against COVID-19.
“If you can stay healthy, your body may be better prepared to handle a possible infection with COVID-19,” Dr. Chassiakos said.
Dr. Chassiakos said that the best thing people can do to protect themselves and others is to get a flu shot soon — ideally before November, when more flu cases are predicted.
The L.A. County Department of Public Health has put several precautions into place to protect those getting flu vaccines, including mask requirements, physical distancing when possible, spaced out appointments and extra cleaning.
Sharon Aronoff, a health educator for the Klotz Center, said that CSUN students who do not have health insurance or Medi-cal are able to get flu shots at the health center, free of charge. Students can call (818) 677-3666 to make an appointment.
Aronoff stressed that the flu shots at the Klotz Center are for students who cannot get them at retail locations through a healthcare provider.
L.A. residents can get their flu shot in a variety of places. CVS Health, Target, Rite Aid and Walmart are just a few retail locations offering flu vaccines. L.A. County also offers flu shots at several L.A. Public Library locations, L.A. Public Health Centers and through public outreach events.
To find a location near you, visit vaccinefinder.org. You can also find a flu shot location near you by calling the L.A. County information line at 211.