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This year's flu may be more severe. Experts say to get your shot now

Gloved hands holding a syringe.
Sam Moghadam Khamseh

This year’s annual flu shot campaign encourages all Americans to get vaccinated against the seasonal flu. Dr. Chastity Walker of the CDC highlighted the importance of getting a flu shot as soon as possible.

“Getting an annual flu shot is the best way to reduce your risk from flu, and any potential serious complications, to protect yourself and your loved ones in your community,” Walker said.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more social distancing and quarantines, we have seen decreased exposure to the flu in the last couple of years. Less flu exposure means fewer people have developed immunity to the virus, which has led to predicted increases in sickness this season.

American Medical Association chair, Dr. Willie Underwood, emphasized the safety of the flu shot vaccine and risk involved in getting sick.

“Flu, that’s one of the major vaccines that's been tested, year over year, multiple studies — the safety and efficacy is strong,” said Underwood. “700,000 people are hospitalized a year. 50,000 die a year from the flu. So we're concerned that this year will be even worse.”

Repeated study has shown the vaccine to be effective and safe for people ages 6 months and older. It can be taken alongside the COVID vaccine, but Dr Walker and Dr. Underwood recommend consulting your healthcare provider to make sure you meet the timing for eligibility for receiving both vaccines at the same time.

Getting a flu shot this season is the best way to stay healthy while also protecting family and friends throughout the holiday season.

“Get the flu vaccines; it’s the number one thing we can do. We can also do other risks mitigations: if you're around individuals who are coughing and sneezing, you can wear masks, do some social distancing.” Underwood said.

To find a flu vaccine location and get more information visit

Erin Lewis is a science reporter at Utah Public Radio and a PhD Candidate in the biology department at Utah State University. She is passionate about fostering curiosity and communicating science to the public. At USU she studies how anthropogenic disturbances are impacting wildlife, particularly the effects of tourism-induced dietary shifts in endangered Bahamian Rock Iguana populations. In her free time she enjoys reading, painting and getting outside with her dog, Hazel.