CLEVELAND — The high infection rate of COVID-19 comes as we approach flu season and now, the Cleveland Clinic is already taking appointments for the flu shot.
As summer sets and fall flies in, the urge to vaccinate doubles. This time for the flu.
“Immunization is our best defense against influenza,” Nate Royster, Registered Nurse with the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center, said.
One Northeast Ohio mom took matters into her own hands to make her kids feel comfortable with getting a flu vaccine.
"I just talked about my experience with it with them. And I try to offset any type of myths that I hear or misinformation that I’ve heard,” Melanie Hill said.
The flu season typically begins in November, but doctors are already sounding the alarm for Ohioans to protect themselves now, especially COVID-19 hospitalizations peak.
Ohio's last peak was in April, with over 1,300 COVID-19 hospitalizations.
“We don't know how influenza is going to play into that,” Dr. Amy Edwards, University Hospital’s Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist, said.
The push to vaccinate for the flu is one that doctors say needs to be personable and explained.
"We have to talk to each patient, figure out where they're at, figure out what's holding them back, and then try to listen to them and comfort them,” Royster said.
“I just felt it was something that wouldn't affect me, or if I got the flu, I didn't see it as a serious threat to my health. But I’ve learned a lot since then, that it kills a lot of people actually every year. And so, now, I’d rather just be better safe than sorry and get the flu shot,” Hill said.
Medical experts said the conversations about vaccinations shouldn't be streamlined, adding that you have to weigh several factors when talking to patients about this.
According to the CDC, roughly 38 percent of Hispanics and 41 percent of the black community received their flu shot in 2020. That stands next to 55 percent of the white community.