Flu shot won’t stop COVID, but Massachusetts experts say it’s more important than ever

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – As the summer season nears its end, we’re now seeing more and more reminders of the flu season to come.

The flu vaccination does not prevent COVID-19, but health experts say it is the best protection and strengthens your immune system. They’re warning that this flu season will be unprecedented due to the threat of COVID-19. They say one great way to lower your chances of coronavirus infections is to get the flu shot.

“We know that when the lungs get damaged they actually create more of the receptors that will let COVID in. So you want to protect yourself against the flu to protect your lungs from being damaged and set up for the COVID disease,” Dr. John O’Reilly, a pediatrician at Baystate Children’s Hospital explained.

The CDC recommends that people ages six months and older be vaccinated against the flu.

The elderly and children are at high risk for serious flu complications, and if you have a weakened immune system after contracting COVID-19, it could leave you at risk for getting a more severe case of the flu.

One East Longmeadow resident told NEWS10’s sister station, 22News in Springfield, that he has high-risk family members living with him, and thinks the vaccination is worth considering.

“I mean, it couldn’t hurt I guess,” said Stefan Bosworth. “I don’t get too sick in general, but right now it’s kind of tricky. Because you don’t know if it’s the flu or is it COVID?”

Last year’s flu season lasted from October to April, causing nearly 62,000 deaths reported in the U.S.

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