There’s no vaccine yet for COVID-19, but health officials with the state of North Carolina are saying that it’s more important than ever to get a flu vaccine this year.

On Monday, Sept. 14, the state sent out a press release that explained why, in the middle of a pandemic, everyone should get a flu shot.

Health officials with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) are urging state residents to protect themselves, their families and everyone around them as the state enters a new flu season in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.

One reason it’s so important is that some of the same resources and hospital bed space that go toward fighting the coronavirus are tapped during flu season and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends vaccination against the flu for everyone 6 months and older.

The flu shot is especially important to some at-risk groups.

According to the press release, “Vaccination against the flu can make illness milder and reduce the risk of more serious outcomes, making it especially important for those at higher risk of complications, such as people over 65, children younger than 5, pregnant women and those with certain medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease or obesity. Some of those same groups are also at high risk of complications from COVID-19.”

State health officials said that both the flu and COVID-19 will be widely circulating this fall and winter. If everyone gets a flu vaccination, that will make it less likely that hospitals in the state will be overwhelmed.

The vaccinations are available at places like hospitals, pharmacies, private medical offices, some federally qualified health care centers and at local health departments.

People can go to find locations.

Across this state, flu infections are most common from late fall to early spring. The flu activity usually peaks in January or February.