It's that time of year, time to get a flu shot. Yakima Health District officials say they expect more flu activity this year in the Yakima Valley. Getting the flu vaccine this fall and winter is crucial to help reduce the spread of influenza and symptoms, which can be similar to COVID-19.

Both COVID and the flu have similar symptoms

The two highly contagious respiratory illnesses are spread in similar ways, mainly through respiratory droplets. Influenza and the common cold have similar symptoms to COVID-19, the only unique symptoms that COVID-19 has are loss of taste and smell.

Who should get the flu shot?

Everyone six months of age and older should get an annual flu vaccine. Young children, pregnant women, those with underlying health conditions, and people aged 65 and older are at high risk for flu-related complications.

You can get the flu and COVID vaccine at the same time

The flu is a highly contagious disease that can cause mild to severe illness, and lead to hospitalization and death-even in healthy, young people. "Getting a flu vaccine reduces the chances of getting the flu, and it can be safely given at the same time as a COVID-19 vaccine. It is possible for individuals to be infected with influenza and COVID-19 at the same time. YHD urges the community to get vaccinated, both against the flu and COVID-19 to help Yakima’s healthcare system from continuing to operate in such limited capacity."

Health officials say there's plenty of places to find a flu shot

The Yakima Health District will be partnering with community organizations, such as Yakima Neighborhood Health Services, Community Health Plan of WA, Columbia Safety, Highland Clinic, Swofford and Halma Clinic, Nuestra Casa,and schools to offer immunization clinics and flu clinics in the community. Flu shots are available at area grocery stores and pharmacies as well.

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Answers to 25 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

Vaccinations for COVID-19 began being administered in the U.S. on Dec. 14, 2020. The quick rollout came a little more than a year after the virus was first identified in November 2019. The impressive speed with which vaccines were developed has also left a lot of people with a lot of questions. The questions range from the practical—how will I get vaccinated?—to the scientific—how do these vaccines even work?

Keep reading to discover answers to 25 common COVID-19 vaccine questions.