Doctors say now is the time to get your flu shot as flu season is here. While it’s already started, it’s most prevalent from November through May. According to the Oklahoma State Department of Health, as of Oct. 20th, 25 people have been hospitalized with the flu since the beginning of September.

Doctor Arif Ajmeri, a Family Medicine Doctor at one of the Lawton Community Health Centers, is passionate about getting others vaccinated against the flu – which affects thousands of people every year. He said he’s already gotten his shot, along with other team members at CCMH as they’re required to get the flu vaccine, and wants others to get theirs too…especially since it may come early after last year.

“So we want to get our patients, our communities, everybody vaccinated so we can prevent that outbreak,” Dr. Ajmeri said.

He said the flu virus can be serious for the youngest and oldest people across the nation, along with those who have chronic medical conditions.

“The flu can make it worse, and so we want to prevent that and protect our loved ones around us and around our community,” he said. “We want to protect them and get our flu shot early.”

As for getting the COVID vaccine and the flu shot at the same time, he said, according to research, it’s safe, but you could wait a week or two between the injections if you’d like.

“But, if you have the availability to get the COVID shot and the flu shot, go get it,” Dr. Ajmeri said. “Get it one arm here and the other one on the other arm.”

Just like the COVID vaccine, it takes two weeks for the influenza shot to be effective. He said a misconception his patients have is that the flu shot causes them to get the flu.

“You don’t get the flu from the flu shot,” he said. “It’s an inactivated virus, and so in layman terms, it’s a dead virus, so you can’t get sick from it.”

While it doesn’t give you the flu, he says you may feel tired, get a headache, or fever as your body is reacting to the vaccine. Dr. Ajmeri said that shouldn’t last longer than a day or two. He said you should call your doctor if you have serious reactions.

You can get your flu shot at doctor’s offices, pharmacies, and county health departments.