California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday received the flu shot during a live news conference, heeding advice health experts have stressed for months as flu season this year coincides with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“I’ve done this every single year, as long as I can remember,” Newsom said, according to a local news station. “It is a simple thing to do, and getting a flu shot is a safe thing to do.”
“By getting a flu shot, you’re protecting yourself, and you mitigate the impact that what some have referred to as the ‘twindemic’ of a potential second wave of COVID-19 transmissions and the flu happening concurrently putting stress, putting pressure, on our hospital system, draining resources and impacting the quality care that all of you deserve and expect of our health care delivery system,” the governor said, per KERO-TV.
Health officials are urging all Americans to receive the flu shot before the end of October.
“Healthy adults, including pregnant women, should get the vaccine as early as possible (pregnant women are not only at particularly high risk of influenza complications, they can also transmit immunity to their fetuses),” Michelle Lin, an emergency room doctor, and professor of emergency medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, previously told Fox News.
The vaccine also reduces the risk of flu-related complications, as well as passing the virus to other people, namely pregnant women, young children and the elderly who are more susceptible, she added.
It takes roughly two weeks for the flu vaccine to take effect, during which time the body develops antibodies to protect against the virus.
While reactions to the flu shot may include a low-grade fever or muscle aches, the vaccine itself cannot cause the flu virus. The shot is either made with a virus that has been “killed” or “inactivated” or made with “only a single gene from a flu virus (as opposed to the full virus) in order to produce an immune response without causing infection,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.
The news comes as the Golden State is expected to see a nearly 90% increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations over the next month, the Los Angeles Times reported, with some 4,864 people estimated to be hospitalized with the virus by Oct. 25.