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Local hospitals urge community members to get their flu shot

In a COVID-19 press conference Monday, officials with MCH and ORMC said flu cases could go up this season as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

ODESSA, Texas —

In a COVID-19 press conference Monday, officials with Medical Center Hospital and Odessa Regional Medical Center discussed the importance of not only getting the COVID-19 shot, but also the flu shot.

The hospitals said they are starting to see a rise in flu cases this year, especially as winter approaches.

They also said there are likely to be more people that catch it since many COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted.

"The main reason for not seeing a strong flu season was the multiple layers of protection we added,” Dr. Rohith Saravanan, of ORMC said. “We added social distancing, we added masking and obviously we pushed vaccinations pretty hard. So, this season, we have a flu vaccine available, we have the COVID vaccine available, we still have masking and social distancing, always available to control it."

The hospitals said that you can get the flu vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time, and that they don't have to be spaced out from each other. 

They also said they are still experiencing a nursing shortage, which is one more reason that they want to avoid an influx of flu patients.