Local doctor expresses importance of flu shot this year


PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB)– With just over half of Americans fully vaccinated for COVID-19, another important shot is looming, the flu shot.

Dr. Frank Merritt, who recovered from COVID-19, said that with all the COVID-19 precautions in place the area saw less flu cases last year. He fears that may not be the case this year.

“I think what happened last year is everybody was doing these other precautions and because we were washing our hands so much and social distancing, you saw the flu go down a lot. So, it’s interesting to see what’s going to happen this year, now that there is COVID fatigue, we will have a bigger flu season? I think we will,” said Merritt.

Dr. Merritt said he usually doesn’t get the flu shot, but this year is a different story.

“I do recommend the flu shot to all my clients and patients, and I will be getting it this year,” he said.

Merritt said the flu shot can be an extra barrier against COVID-19 as it is possible to have COVID and the flu at the same time.

“Sounds like it is statistically rare, but we do see those sometimes…. Getting the two together would be detrimental,” he said.

Merritt said the ideal time to get your flu shot is September or October time, as peak flu cases typically happen December through February.

According to the CDC, all persons ages 6 months and older are recommended for an annual flu shot. Dr. Merritt recommends that you consult with your physician first before getting any vaccination.

You can get your flu shot at your local Publix, CVS, Walgreens locations.

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