Alabama health leaders continue push for everyone to get a flu shot

Updated: Oct. 5, 2020 at 4:19 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Alabama and Jefferson County health leaders are still pushing people to get a flu shot, even though early results from other countries show it was a mild flu season.

The CDC expects to increase shots from 194 to 198 million doses. Here in Alabama, the health department usually receives between 12,000 and 14,000 doses, but 200,000 will be available this year.

“I got my flu shot in the last week or two, I think,” Dr. Wesley Willeford with the Jefferson County Department of Health said.

Dr. Willeford is advocating shots. His boss Dr. Mark Wilson put out on social medial over the weekend that he and his wife got shots. Willeford said the shots work.

“Really make sure this is the year you get your flu vaccine. We want to do everything we can to decompress our healthcare system because each year we expect more hospitalizations due to the flu,” Willeford said.

Countries in the southern hemisphere where it has been winter already have had a mild flu season in part due to the safety precautions for COVID-19. Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said don’t let this stop you from getting a flu shot.

“We want people to take the flu seriously. The flu is always with us. The flu vaccine is safe and effective. Everyone six months and older should take the flu vaccine,” Harris said.

Dr. Willeford said there could be a mild season in Alabama, but only if people continue to take the same necessary steps to protect themselves as with the coronavirus.

“This is hard. This is something that has disrupted every aspect of our lives and I have to get acknowledgement to that face. This is one of the toughest things we have asked people to do,” Willeford said.

Dr. Willeford said most clinics and pharmacies should have vaccines now or will get in supplies soon. Dr. Harris said now is not too soon to take the shots and shots are available even for those who are allergic. Harris said talk to your doctor first.

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