Dallas County officials want a double vaccination push, for both COVID-19 and protection from the flu.
They’re concerned that a surge in both deadly diseases at the same time could come as flu season approaches and the COVID-19 pandemic is still at the highest red threat level in Dallas County.
Even with COVID-19 vaccinations now widely available, shots are down to about 10,000 a week with around 50% of the population still not fully vaccinated, Health Director Dr. Philip Huang said.
And the traditional start of flu season is just weeks away.
“I'm having a lot of people say to me that they're not going to get a flu shot this year. What's just a quick answer to say why they ought to get a flu shot,” Commissioner Theresa Daniel asked Huang.
“The flu could be really bad this year if people don't get the vaccine and we get a bad flu season. And COVID could be devastating to our health care system. The flu shots are tried and true, effective vaccination,” Huang said.
Commissioner John Wiley Price began the discussion about the approach of flu season on top of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The latest news from around North Texas.
“And I don't know if we're sounding enough of an alarm,” Price said.
Dr. Huang said the health department has been preparing for flu season and that now is the time to get a flu shot, too. Officials said it is fine to get both vaccines at the same time.
“I think one of the real important messages is that you can take the COVID vaccine and the flu, you don't have to wait three months,” Commissioner Elba Garcia said.
Huang said the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations is improving, but it is too soon to relax precautions.
Everyone at the commissioners meeting wore masks. Huang said COVID -19 masks and social distancing also help block the flu.
Dallas County officials said they are also preparing for expanded COVID-19 booster shots and shots for kids 5 and up when those are approved.