LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles County is gearing up for the coming flu season, with the county’s top public health official saying Tuesday that residents should get vaccinated, even given the continuing threat of COVID-19.
“We are positive that we will have both influenza and COVID-19 circulating at the same time,” Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer told the Board of Supervisors. “While we don’t have a vaccination for COVID-19 at this time, we do have a vaccination for influenza.”
Immunization is recommended for everyone over the age of 6 months. Vaccines are already available at some doctors’ offices, clinics and pharmacies, and Ferrer said the county should have its own stocks available next week.
If enough residents get vaccinated, it will help decrease the stress on the county’s health care system as it works to support patients fighting either COVID-19 or influenza, which have similar symptoms, Ferrer told the board.
Supervisor Janice Hahn said she was starting to hear the term “twindemic” to describe the possibility of a dual health crisis this fall.
As the county considers reopening certain sectors of the economy, taking precautions against both COVID-19 and the flu will be even more important, Hahn said.
Supervisor Hilda Solis said people, especially those at high-risk for COVID-19, may be reluctant to visit clinics or doctor’s offices to get immunized. She called for a formal vote to ask the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health to implement its plan for flu season, which includes a multilingual campaign encouraging residents to get a flu shot. Solis also urged the department to establish drive-in vaccination sites.
The board’s vote in support of the department’s plan was unanimous.