TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) — New Jersey health officials are voicing concerns about what they’re calling a possible “twindemic.” Flu season is right around the corner — couple that with the coronavirus pandemic and it could be a difficult stretch.
One local doctor says timing is everything. Health officials are hoping to have all children vaccinated by the end of October and say the time to get vaccinated is now.
“This year we are preparing for the possibility of a twindemic — a severe flu season and a resurgence of COVID-19,” New Jersey Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said.
Officials in the Garden State are preparing for the worst as we head into winter. But as health officials prepare, health professionals are asking you to do the same.
“The influenza vaccine is probably one of the most important things that people can do heading into this respiratory virus season to protect themselves and everyone else around them,” said pediatrician Dr. Jonathan Miller of AI duPont Hospital for Children.
According to the health commissioner, only 50% of eligible residents get their flu shot each year. They’d like that number to be at least 70% this year.
One New Jersey resident is considering getting the flu vaccine for her young daughter.
“I can’t get her sick. She’s a premature baby so I have to be careful with everything, who’s around her, even me being around her,” Blackwood resident Tiffany Hamilton said.
Others with pre-existing health conditions say they plan on getting their shot.
“Every year I get the flu shot because I have diabetes,” Camden resident Jose Sanchez said.
Doctors are hoping more people get vaccinated this year for the sake of the health care system.
“We’re worried about COVID and influenza combining to really wreak havoc on the health care system. That combination could be devastating,” Miller said.
The CDC does not recommend receiving the flu shot while you’re sick with COVID-19. Speak to your doctor before doing so.