Yes. You should get a flu shot every year, especially this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The flu shot will not protect you from COVID-19, but it will protect you from influenza, which has very similar symptoms to COVID-19.
Preventing more people coming down with influenza is key to keeping our health care system healthy, ensuring our hospitals and other health care facilities have the resources available to care for very sick individuals with influenza and/or COVID-19.
“It is always a good idea to receive the influenza vaccination but it is particularly important during the pandemic,” said Dr. Julie Kryzanowski, Senior Medical Health Officer for the Saskatchewan Health Authority. “Receiving the vaccine will help prevent the spread of influenza.”
Getting more people the flu vaccine could also help prevent unnecessary testing for COVID-19, as many of the symptoms of COVID-19 and influenza, both respiratory illnesses, are similar.
It is also important to avoid the potential risk of geting influenza and COVID-19 infections at the same time, which could increase the possibility of serious illness. While there are similarities between influenza and COVID-19 in terms of symptoms, the two are different viruses and the seasonal flu shot is not a vaccine for COVID-19.
Flu shots are recommended for everyone, especially those at higher risk, including seniors, people with underlying chronic health conditions, children under five and pregnant women. Seniors often have chronic health conditions (like heart or lung disease or diabetes) and weaker immune systems, which makes them particularly vulnerable to complications from influenza.
A total of 36.5 per cent more influenza vaccine has been purchased this year than last year to meet anticipated increase in demand. High dose vaccine will also be available at no cost to personal care home and long-term care residents aged 65 and over. More information can be found at 4flu.ca.