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VERIFY: Should people wait or get the flu vaccine right away amid the COVID-19 pandemic?

“It's extremely important for everybody to get a vaccine -- even more so now than before," UF Infectious Disease Specialist Mobeen Rathore said.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — The COVID-19 pandemic is about to collide head-on with flu season, and misconceptions about what that means are starting to float around the internet.

Some social media posts are warning people not to get the flu vaccine while there are still so many unknowns about the coronavirus, but medical specialists urge the opposite is true, and getting a flu shot is more important than ever.

"It’s like saying 'Is it OK to drive to work without your pants on?' The two are not related. You’re going to put your pants on whether you drive to work or walk to work," UF Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Mobeen Rathore said as he explained the lack of a link between COVID-19 and the flu vaccine.

He admits there is still a lot to learn about the coronavirus, but there’s no evidence so far that there’s any interaction between the virus and the flu vaccine.

Plus, some of the COVID-19 and the flu symptoms overlap, and if you get the flu shot this fall, Rathore said, it can help you avoid a double whammy.

“We are in the coronavirus time and anybody can get coronavirus, and at least you'll be protected against influenza," he explained.

Dr. Rathore said the flu vaccine has been around for decades, and it has proven to be safe and effective at preventing people from getting the influenza virus. He added the injection is dead protein and doesn't give you influenza.

“It's extremely important for everybody to get a vaccine even more so now than before," Rathore said.

He explained the flu vaccine will be readily available starting next month, and it’s always best for your family to go through your primary care doctor to get the shot.

Rathore said there are a lot of pandemic scams out there, and First Coast families should use credible health care sources for the latest coronavirus and flu information including the CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics and American Academy of Family Physicians.