TOP PHOTO:  La Follette Medical Center RN Elizabeth Lawson administered many free flu shots during LMC’s free flu shot clinics held in early October in La Follette and Jacksboro.

LAFOLLETTE, TN. (WLAF)- As COVID-19 numbers rise, healthcare professionals are urging people to take the flu vaccine.

COVID- 19 and the flu can mimic the others symptoms so by taking a flu vaccine, the flu can often be ruled out if someone becomes sick, according to Shaun Lynch, a pharmacist at Terry’s Pharmacy.

The same population that is vulnerable to COVID- 19 is also at risk for the flu, he said.  By taking the flu vaccine, they are protecting themselves against the illness there is a shot for.

The two maladies can coexist, Lynch said.

“Taking a flu shot each flu season can be vital to good health, but this year it is more important than ever to become inoculated against the flu,” said Raewyn Snodderly, pharmacist and co- owner of Terry’s Pharmacy.

Typically, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends people start taking the flu shot in October. This year, due to COVID-19 the CDC recommended shots begin in September. Flu season typically runs from October to around April, Lynch said. Terry’s Pharmacy has administered first time flu shots to several people in the last few weeks, according to Lynch.

With local COVID-19 numbers rising, it is important people understand the dangers in the virus.

Because it is a relatively new virus, “everyone is vulnerable to it,” Lynch said. Without those natural immunities, people can also be carriers and unaware of it.

Handwashing for at least 20 seconds, wearing a mask and continuing to practice social distancing is also critical in helping stem the transmission of COVID-19, Snodderly said.

Testing is also important.

“The best and smartest thing to do if you become sick is to get tested,” Lynch said.

For those wanting a flu shot, Terry’s Pharmacy does have them in stock.

“If anyone wants a vaccine and doesn’t feel comfortable to go inside a facility, we will gladly come out to the parking lot of the store to administer the shot,” Snodderly said. “Our lobby is open but we are keeping our patients health in mind and continue to offer free delivery, drive thru and curbside service.”

Most insurances, as well as Medicare, will cover the flu shot, Lynch said.  No appointment is needed with shots given at both Terry’s locations. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED -10/19/2020- 6AM)