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    It’s not too late to vaccinate against the flu

a young, school aged white boy wearing a face mask in an exam room with a medical staff person in PPE

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that flu activity is low across the U.S., it is expected to increase over the coming weeks. It takes approximately two weeks for the flu vaccine to become effective, which makes now a good time to get your flu vaccination if you have not yet done so. 

Everybody is at risk for becoming ill with the flu. However, young children are especially at risk for severe complications from developing flu-like complications. Dr. Tina Ardon, a Mayo Clinic Family Medicine physician, says it is important for children to get vaccinated for the flu, even if they are not attending school in person.

Watch: Dr. Tina Ardon talks about flu vaccinations.

Journalists: Soundbites are available in the downloads at the end of the post. Please courtesy: "Tina Ardon, M.D. /Family Medicine/ Mayo Clinic"

"Unless you are really going to be isolated from anyone outside your home, there's always a chance that that mom or dad who are working outside the home, or maybe an older child who's going to school in person, could be exposed to flu and bring that home," says Dr. Ardon. "We want to make sure everyone is protected during this flu season."

Flu and COVID-19 may spread at the same time with similar symptoms. Getting vaccinated for the flu won't protect against COVID-19, but it will reduce the risk of getting severely ill from the flu. And this is especially important this season with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The CDC says that it is possible to have flu, as well as other respiratory illnesses and COVID-19, at the same time.

"We are using this as an opportunity to educate our patients about getting the flu vaccine this year, as it is more important than ever during this pandemic," says Dr. Ardon.

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Learn more about: Tracking and trending COVID-19.

December 3, 2020 Mayo Clinic COVID-19 tracking and trending map

Information in this post was accurate at the time of its posting. Due to the fluid nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, scientific understanding, along with guidelines and recommendations, may have changed since the original publication date

For the safety of its patients, staff and visitors, Mayo Clinic has strict masking policies in place. Anyone shown without a mask was recorded prior to COVID-19 or in an area not designated for patient care, where social distancing and other safety protocols were followed.

For more information and all your COVID-19 coverage, go to the Mayo Clinic News Network and mayoclinic.org.