Q: Does the flu vaccine make it more likely that people will get COVID-19?
A: The flu vaccine does not make people susceptible to COVID-19. There is no evidence that getting a flu vaccination increases your risk of getting sick from a coronavirus, like the one that causes COVID-19.
In fact, getting a flu shot is the best way to protect yourself and the people you spend time with from getting the flu, which is also a serious illness.
Some of the best ways to protect yourself from COVID-19 are to wear a mask and avoid spending long periods of time indoors with people who don’t live with you.
More information on the flu vaccine and COVID-19 is available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
Q: I’ve heard that the flu vaccine causes people to test positive for COVID-19. Is that true?
A: The flu vaccine will not cause a person to test positive for COVID-19. COVID-19 tests only look for evidence of one virus – the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
Because the flu is largely preventable, don’t wait to vaccinate. We encourage all Idahoans to get a flu shot as soon as possible because it will prevent flu illness and deaths and keep people out of the hospital at a time when we need to reserve space for COVID-19 patients and others who may require hospital care.
Flu vaccine is widely available and is free or low-cost with most health insurance plans.
Why do media outlets and others have different numbers than the state’s COVID-19 dashboard? Who should we trust?
The Department of Health and Welfare publishes a dashboard online that is full of data related to Idaho’s response to COVID-19. A link to the dashboard is available at coronavirus.idaho.gov. It is the best place to find accurate, preliminary data about COVID-19 in our state.
The data presented there are collected and carefully analyzed (including deduplicating records) by DHW staff who take a lot of pride in their ability to provide accurate data for the state. They are aware that Idahoans throughout the state are using it to make policy decisions for their communities that might include mask mandates, limiting gatherings or school openings or closings, as well as personal decisions about how to interact in their communities during the pandemic.
Data about Idaho’s response to the pandemic on other public sites is generally gathered from our dashboard, or from information and data published by the local public health districts. DHW works very closely with the local public health districts, but sometimes they have data we haven’t received yet because of differing schedules, and sometimes we have data they don’t.
Because the state and local health districts work so closely together and keep data in the same system, it’s best to consult those websites for an accurate picture of what’s happening in Idaho.
To slow the spread of COVID-19 in Idaho, please remember to:
- Wear face coverings
- Keep at least six feet between you and others
- Stay home if you are sick
- Wash your hands often
- Cover coughs and sneezes
- Disinfect surfaces and objects regularly
Stay up-to-date with the latest and most accurate information on COVID-19 at the following websites:
DHW also posts lots of information, including daily updates on the numbers on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Elke Shaw-Tulloch is the administrator for the Division of Public Health.
The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is dedicated to strengthening the health, safety, and independence of Idahoans. Learn more at healthandwelfare.idaho.gov.