Survey ranks MS last to get flu shots, a potentially deadly combination with COVID-19

Updated: Sep. 14, 2020 at 7:07 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Wallet Hub reports that Mississippi ranks last among states getting the flu shot.

Alone that is disturbing, but during the Coronavirus outbreak, this fall could mean more lives lost if you don’t rely on the flu vaccine as an added layer of protection.

“My partners have seen influenza already, although it’s not rampant yet,” said Dr. Jennifer Bryan.

The Mississippi State Medical Association Board Chair says the combination of the flu and COVID-19 could be deadly.

Bryan says while there is no Coronavirus vaccine right now, flu vaccines are available and will help during the pandemic.

“If you’ve got two infections going on at once it’s certainly going to be more detrimental to the body, to the immune system and harder to fight off,” said Bryan. “So you worry about people who would be COVID infected and we do have some hope when we look at things in the southern hemisphere and how they wore masks, and they were able to mitigate the spread of influenza along with COVID-19”.

Wallet Hub ranked Mississippi 50th in influenza vaccination rate among children six months to 17 years old.

The state ranked 46th in flu vaccination coverage rate among adults.

According to medical experts, getting a flu shot can also prevent hospitalization and strain on an already overwhelmed health care system.

“It’s not about beds and the other piece of this is a lot of nurses and a lot of health care workers are being hired out of state and doing travel jobs and so on,” said the family medicine physician. “So those that are left here battle this virus and then just taking care of routine health care are tired and calling on the community to do the things we all can do to keep ourselves healthy”.

Physicians urge you to get a flu shot now instead of their usual recommendation of October.

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