Shelby County Health Department making it easier to get a flu shot

WATCH: Experts say due to the pandemic a flu shot is even more important than usual this year

SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. — Have you gotten your flu shot yet? Experts say it’s even more important than usual this year.

The Shelby County Health Department is making it easier to get your vaccine.

“This COVID is serious," said Glenda Roberson who got a flu shot. “It’s killing old folks, young folks, and babies.”

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Glenda Roberson is diabetic and suffers from seizures. That makes her more at risk of having a hard time fighting the flu and COVID.

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“Sometimes people don’t follow the leader. I follow the leader and respect,” said Roberson.

That is why she made sure to get a flu shot like health experts advise.

“There’s too much virus going on around here, too much coughing and sneezing going on around here,” said Roberson.

Each year, the Shelby County Helton Dept. offers flu vaccine at clinics across the county. The need for a flu vaccine is heightened because of COVID and fears the two illnesses could overwhelm healthcare providers.

“We don’t have large numbers of influenza cases coming upon us and really burdening the symptoms as a whole,” said Dr. Steve Threlkeld, an Infectious Disease Specialist at Baptist Hospital.

Threlkeld says COVID and flu symptoms are similar and healthcare professionals will have to run tests to diagnose patients.

“We have the capacity to test for COVID and influenza, but it adds expense and complexity to things,” said Threlkeld.

The vaccine is available on a sliding fee scale based on income at all health department clinics. It’s something local health experts encourage taking advantage of.

“We need to have all hands on deck at fighting both COVID and the flu. They’re serious in their own right and can add to the confusion,” said Threlkeld.

Roberson shared advice to those on the fence about the vaccine.

“They need it because it’s serious out here. Life and death,” she said.

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