INDIANAPOLIS — With students back in school and the summer ending, health experts are looking ahead to the fall and winter.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Dr. Brian Dixon with the Regenstrief Institute says there could be a "twindemic" when both the flu and COVID-19 are circulating at high rates in the community.
"These newer strains of COVID-19 are highly transmissible, and so we're expecting to see even more cases come fall and winter," Dixon said. "I think we can expect to see that our rates which are already have been going up will either shoot up even further or remain at a very high level for a while and then we are expecting this particular flu season to be bad."
Misty Marcum, a LPN with Franciscan Health, says everyone six months and older needs to get a flu shot.
"September [and] October are the the peak times to get that flu shot ... [as] soon as you can get it, I would recommend getting it," Marcum said. "Those that may be a little hesitant about getting one, educate yourself. And if you don't know how to educate yourself, maybe ask your physician or get on the CDC website and look into it a little bit more."
Franciscan and other hospitals across Indiana have met with the Indiana Department of Health and vaccines have started to ship out. Marcum says there hasn't been talk yet of a twindemic, but "it can't be counted out."
"[Getting the shot is] very important, not only to protect yourself, but to protect those around you," Marcum said.
Both Dixon and Marcum encourage those who are eligible to get their flu and COVID-19 vaccine. The shots can be given at the same time without a waiting period.
Franciscan Health is offering several drive through flu shot clinics throughout September. Pfizer COVID-19, shingles and pneumonia vaccines will also be available. Clinics are scheduled for:
Saturday, Sept. 17 (10 a.m.-3 p.m.) Franciscan Health Indianapolis campus, 8111 S. Emerson Ave.
Sunday, Sept. 18 (10 a.m.-2 p.m.) Franciscan Health Stones Crossing, 1703 Stones Crossing Road, Greenwood
Wednesday, Sept. 21 (3 p.m.-6 p.m.) Franciscan Physician Network Columbus Primary & Specialty Care, 123 2nd St., Columbus
Sunday, Sept. 25 (9 a.m.-1 p.m.) Franciscan Physician Network CityWay Family Medicine, 426 S. Alabama St., downtown Indianapolis
More clinics are planned for October but dates have not been announced.
For additional information or questions, call (317) 528-6374.