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Get your flu shot, St. Louis area health officials plead

Getting vaccinated against the flu could help reduce the strain on hospitals that are already treating COVID-19 patients

ST. LOUIS — As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, protecting yourself against another contagious disease – the flu – will be critical, St. Louis area health officials said.

St. Louis and St. Louis County issued advice to residents Monday, asking them to get their flu vaccines as soon as possible.

“As response efforts for COVID-19 continue, it is critical to get a flu vaccine, not only to protect yourself and others but to help reduce the strain on hospital systems and healthcare workers responding to the pandemic, said Dr. Fredrick Echols, acting director of health for the City of St. Louis. 

The city is working with federally-funded health centers to increase the availability and access to the flu vaccine. More information will be available online in the coming weeks.

The St. Louis County Department of Public Health will launch drive-up flu shots clinics at the John C. Murphy Health Center in Berkeley and the South County Health Center in late September. It will also host and at other pop-up events across the county starting in late September.

County residents will be able to make appointments for flu shots on stlcorona.com by the end of the week, the release said.

Symptoms of the flu are similar to COVID-19, including fever, cough, congestion and difficulty breathing, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Receiving a flu shot decreases the chances of getting the flu or makes a flu infection less severe. 

The CDC said it is possible for people to be infected with the coronavirus and flue at the same time, though it is not clear how common that could be. The CDC recommends that people 6 months of age and older receive a flu shot unless they have a medical reason.

RELATED: Get the flu shot to prevent a 'twindemic,' the combination of the flu and COVID-19, Wash U infectious disease specialist says

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