William Schaffner, MD: Preparing for the Flu Season

Dr. Schaffner explains how social distancing and masks could also reduce the spread of influenza.

With the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic still bearing down on the US as the influenza season approaches, there is a lot of concern about how the medical community can handle the dueling infectious diseases.

While unlike COVID-19, there is a vaccine for the flu that could cut the spread of the flu. However, the flu vaccine is not perfect and it is possible for individuals who received the vaccine to still contract the flu. The vaccine does reduce the severity of the disease and drastically decreases the mortality rate.

There is also reason for optimism that the impact of the flu might be lessened in this upcoming season. Many individuals across the country are taking extra precautions because of the pandemic, including wearing masks in public, social distancing when possible, working from home, and avoid large gatherings. While the intent of those measures was to slow the spread of COVID-19, they could have an impact in slowing the spread of the flu.

In the latest episode of DocTalk, William Schaffner, MD, Professor of Preventive Medicine in the Department of Health Policy and Professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, explained the importance of the flu vaccination and what he thinks could happen this winter in regard to both the flu and COVID-19.