It’s always important to get the annual flu shot, but public health officials are saying it might be essential this year.

Many health experts are predicting an epidemic-level wave of COVID-19 during the fall and winter months, right in the heart of the annual flu season in the U.S.

Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said more people getting flu shots could ease that strain on resources. In a typical year, a little less than half of Americans take advantage of the flu vaccine.

Flu shots are generally inexpensive or free, and drive-through vaccinations may become widely available. While the shots typically provide between 40% and 60% protection, some protection is better than none.

Even if you contract the flu after receiving your shot, being vaccinated often leads to a milder case.

The bottom line is that flu shots save lives, very likely more than ever this year.

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