Gov. Greg Abbott urges vaccinations ahead of what could be ‘prolific’ flu season

Abbott: Upcoming flu season coupled with COVID-19 pandemic can 'easily' overrun Texas hospitals

FILE - This Jan. 23, 2020 file photo shows a patient receiving a flu vaccination in Mesquite, Texas. According to a study released on Wednesday, June 24, 2020, flu vaccines for years were close to 60% effective against the flu strain that caused the most lab-confirmed illnesses last winter, but it proved only 31% effective last season. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File) (Lm Otero, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

As Texans continue to take measures against the spread of COVID-19, there is another wave of infections we will soon have to worry about — the flu.

Flu season is around the corner, which has public health experts worried about its potential impact.

“That could be prolific,” Gov. Greg Abbott said after a roundtable with doctors and state officials in Dallas. “If that leads to greater hospitalizations, coupled with the hospitalizations that we’re seeing for COVID-19, you can easily see how hospitals in this region as well as across Texas will be completely overrun,” Abbott said.

Because of that, Abbott encouraged Texans to get their flu shot as early as September.

5 burning questions, answered, as flu season approaches amid COVID-19 pandemic

“We wanted to urge everybody today ... to understand the importance of getting ahead of the curve with regard to the flu,” Abbott said.

Abbott stressed that securing personal protective equipment, or PPE, would help the public in stemming the spread of the viruses.

“PPE supplies are something that are absolutely crucial ... but it’s COVID-19, coupled with the flu, coupled with the opening of schools that those supplies are at an absolute premium.”

Earlier this week, Abbott touted the state’s efforts in bolstering the PPE supply chain.

Like COVID-19, experts say the best way to prevent the spread of the flu is to keep your distance and wear masks. But even better, Texas Department of State Health Services Commissioner Dr. John Hellerstedt said, is that there’s a vaccine for the flu that’s highly effective.

”We have an excellent vaccine that has been proven to be very effective in the flu season (that happened earlier) in the southern hemisphere,” Hellerstedt said.