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Experts, organizations team up to reduce risk of 'twindemic' with COVID-19 and flu

Crystal Bui
Updated: September 19, 2020 10:59 PM
Created: September 19, 2020 10:44 PM

On Saturday, a group offered free flu shots to those in need. It was put on by the Minnesota Immunization Networking Initiative as part of M Health Fairview. 

Health experts say flu shots will be even more important for all populations this year, to avoid the "twindemic" of a serious flu season colliding with the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“People are anxious. There is a general anxiety, and unfortunately more and more a feeling of being isolated and alone,” said the Rev. Alfred Babington-Johnson, Stairstep Foundation president and CEO. “In a time such as this, which there is so much tension and there is so much anxiety in the air, we need to take logical steps to take care of our health, like getting testing, like getting flu shots, mammograms, etc.”

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M Health Fairview has partnered with local organizations, including faith groups, to bring free flu shots for underserved communities, including communities of color. 

Jalil and Nalilah Jones went to the event with their grandpa. 

"It felt like a pinch, like someone pinched me really hard,” said Nalilah Jones. 

Their grandpa says this is a ritual every year, but it’s especially important to the family this year. Health experts agree. 

“We are about to enter in what we consider to be ‘influenza season,’ and we are really worried about what that could look like for people to have two serious respiratory illnesses circulating at the same time,” said Ingrid Johansen, an emergency room nurse.

It’s the same message the U.S. surgeon general told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS this week. 

“We don't want a bad flu season, superimposed on a top of a bad COVID season, overwhelming our healthcare capacity,” Dr. Jerome Adams said. “Every preventable flu case ends up creating potential problems because it can be confused for covid in the community.”


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