Kaiser Permanente urging community to receive flu vaccine

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Flu season typically runs from October to May, but many experts say now is the time to get vaccinated.

"Flu season is going to be a bit of a really hectic season this year," says Dr. Mitul Patel.

Kaiser Permanente is making it convenient for its members to get the vaccine by offering drive-thru flu shots at its Clovis location. A steady stream of cars stopped by Tuesday with people taking advantage of the free shots.

"We didn't have to get out of the car and we're getting them because we don't want to catch the flu this year," says Barbara Wadstein.

Last year's flu season was mild as many people stayed home, wore masks and increased handwashing and sanitizer use.

But with more kids back in school and adults returning to work, Dr. Patel worries that because hospitals are seeing an influx of COVID patients, a rise in flu patients would only make matters worse.

"Right now, we're already seeing cases of RSV and other viral infections that we typically see in the peak of winter," Dr. Patel said. "Soon, we're going to be having flu and that's going to add another layer to the mix of things that we're worried about."

Experts predict this fall and winter could see a circulation of COVID, influenza as well as other respiratory viruses.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it is safe to get the COVID vaccine and flu shot at the same time.

"You do not need to space them out," Dr. Patel said. "They have released official guidelines that it doesn't matter what vaccines you're getting, you could get the COVID vaccine or flu vaccine with any vaccine the day before or day after. There's no specific spacing that needs to occur in terms of vaccinations."
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