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Have you gotten your flu shot?

BY BRITTNEE NAVE
STAR CORRESPONDENT
While the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, flu season is just around the corner. 
 According to Dr. Arnold Hopland, founder of Medical Care, while this flu season could be relatively mild due to masking and social distancing, flu shots remain critical.  
 “It’s critically important that people get vaccinated for the flu,” he explained. “It should absolutely be taken, because, in conjunction with COVID, should someone get both of these illnesses, they will be hit really hard.”
 While the flu is around all year, Hopland explained that it is more prominent in cold weather months. He urged that people get their flu vaccinations before the end of October. 
 When comparing COVID-19 to the flu, Hopland explained it is actually best not to.
 “We can’t compare the two, they’re very different,” he explained. 
 In looking at the differences, however, Hopland described how COVID-19 is actually more infectious than the flu and is easier to catch. Likewise, those with the flu typically know they have it, while those with COVID-19 may not.
 When looking over symptoms of COVID-19 versus the flu, or any respiratory illness really, Hopland urges to be tested. 
 “Testing is essentially the only way to differentiate,” he said. “At this point, anyone with respiratory symptoms should be tested so they know and don’t transmit to other people.”
 Although he has not seen any cases like it, Hopland explained that people can have both the flu and COVID-19 at the same time as well. 
 Hopland went on to explain the importance of vaccinations, which are usually avoided out of fear. He said that, historically, they have been relatively safe. 
 There is no current vaccine available for COVID-19, however, trials and work are underway to establish one. This process has been questioned by many in terms of safety due to the urgency to have one done in faster amounts of time.
 Hopland said this urgency of time does not lessen safety, actually. 
 “They’re being super cautious,” he said. “The speed at which they are developing the vaccine is simply that they have more volunteers available, so they can run a large number of safety trials at a time.”
 Hopland believes it is urgent that people take the vaccine once it is available. 
 “We cannot stop the spread of this until we have a widespread immunity to it,” he said. “It is critically important that people take the vaccine not only for their own safety but for those vulnerable around them.”
 While there is yet to be a concrete vaccination for COVID-19 available, flu vaccines are now available in places like Hopland’s medical offices. The recommended flu vaccination for those over 65 years of age will be ready in a couple of weeks in his offices. 
 “The flu vaccine is very safe, very effective, and I think anyone with good wisdom and knowledge would want to get it as soon as they can,” said Hopland.