MercyOne concerned by rising flu and Covid-19 infections

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(ABC 6 News) – Across Iowa and the United States, flu vaccinations are significantly lower than they were a year ago.

The Centers for Disease Control continues to report increasing COVID and flu activity in most of the country.

Last year, there wasn’t much of a flu season because of social distancing and virus restrictions. But with many restrictions lifted, this year could be a different story.

"We have started to have influenza cases trickle in conjunction with the Covid-19 virus and with the combination of both of them, I think the concern is that it could overload the health care system," MercyOne pediatric physician Dr. Kristin Avery said.

Just under 29 percent of Iowans six months and older are vaccinated. That’s compared to the 39 percent last flu season.

Dr. Kristin Avery is concerned Iowans are not remaining vigilant. She reminds everyone the flu can result in serious complications, including death, at all ages.

"The best thing to do to be able to protect ourselves and the loved ones around us from the potentially serious complications of both influenza and the Covid-19 pandemic is to get vaccinated. It’s a very safe thing to do and we feel the benefits of that outweigh the risk," Avery said.

With holiday gatherings ahead, MercyOne is confident in the safety of the flu vaccine approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Receiving a flu shot can help prevent getting sick with the flu. While a flu infection is still possible, the vaccine can help reduce symptoms and the need for hospitalization.

If you have an appointment for another vaccine including you COVID vaccine – you can receive a flu shot at the same time.