As fall and winter approach, medical professionals are urging people not to skip their annual flu shot this year, as a spike in the flu could cause unnecessary hospitalizations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Doctors worry that people forgoing their flu shot this year could have detrimental effects on the healthcare system by potentially overwhelming hospitals, USA Today reported.
People who received their annual flu shot in a 2018 study were 82% less likely to be admitted to the ICU for potentially life-threatening symptoms, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on the website.
Since some medical professionals are worried that this upcoming winter could see a spike in COVID-19 cases — as it will be harder for people to gather outdoors while socially distancing — doctors want to keep unnecessary hospitalizations low.
People six months and older can receive a dose of the flu vaccine annually, the CDC said, adding that people can either opt for the shot or the nasal spray.
Lots of clinics and medical offices already are offering flu shots in the Tysons area:
- The Kaiser Permanente Tysons Corner Medical Center (8008 Westpark Drive) offers a drive-through flu vaccination station, according to its website. Beginning today through Nov. 30, people can stop by on weekdays from 8:30 a.m. until 8 p.m. From Sept. 12 until Oct. 24 people can also stop by on Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m.
- Some drug stores such as CVS and Walgreens also offer walk-in flu shots. For example, the CVS at 1452 Chain Bridge Road offers slots from 8:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. and from 2:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. On Saturdays, they are taking patients from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. and again from 1:30 p.m. until around 4:30.
- Around Falls Church, McLean and Vienna, CVS also has several other flu shot locations which can be found online through a proximity tracker.
- While they stop to shop for groceries, people can get their flu shots at pharmacies inside specific Safeway and Giant stores. At Giant (1454 Chain Bridge Road), the pharmacy is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m., Saturdays from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Sundays from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.
- Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church (IHVI Atrium 3300 Gallows Road) is offering free flu shots for members with an Inova insurance plan from Sept. 5 through Dec. 1 from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m. each Saturday.
- People can also check with their primary care doctor, as many family practices also offer flu shots.