Jefferson County health officials say flu season could potentially infect fewer people this year

Flu season amid COVID pandemic

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The start of flu season is coming up this fall and health officials are encouraging everyone to get their vaccines.

Health officials with Jefferson County are predicting the flu virus may not infect as many people this year as it previously has, but they said that doesn’t mean people shouldn’t get a vaccine.

“The flu season in Australia often times predicts what flu season will be like in America,” Jefferson County Deputy Health Officer Dr. David Hicks said. “We are seeing that the flu season in Australia is uncharacteristically low, so hopefully that predicts what happens in the United States.”

Dr. Hicks says getting a flu vaccine is crucial to not overloading hospitals during the pandemic. He said that getting a flu vaccine will also help you fight off COVID-19 because it will help not weaken immune systems with the flu.

Dr. Hicks said people are acting more health conscious this year, which could result in a less aggressive flu season.

“With people being more diligent with hand washing and keeping a distance wearing a mask, that only decreases the risk of not only COVID-19, but any other communicable disease that is out there that can be transmitted through droplets or in the air,” Dr. Hicks said. “Flu rates should be down just if everyone keeps doing what we have asked them to do with COVID, so I suspect that should be down.”

Hicks said the Jefferson County Department of Health plans to get flu vaccines within the next few weeks and hopes to begin distributing them next month.

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