Doctors Urge People to Get Flu Shot Amid Fears of Potential ‘Twindemic'

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Doctors are preparing for a potential “twindemic” — with cases of COVID-19 and influenza coming at the same time this fall.

More than ever before doctors are encouraging everyone to get the flu vaccine.

The flu and the coronavirus have similar symptoms including cough, fever and trouble breathing.

In the past, doctors didn’t always test for the flu, and if there weren’t any serious symptoms, patients recovered at home.

This year, doctors may need to test patients for both viruses to make the correct diagnosis, and some health experts worry it will put a strain on supplies and testing.

It can take a day for flu test results to come in while coronavirus testing varies and results can take up to a week or longer, depending on where you live.

“There is a concern,” infectious disease specialist Dr. William Schaffner said. “We’ve already seen reports of people getting both viruses one after the other or even simultaneously.”  

Doctors are preparing for a potential “twindemic” — with cases of COVID-19 and influenza coming at the same time this fall. News4's Doreen Gentzler reports.

However, pharmacies are already ramping up and offering free flu vaccines. People are encouraged to get their flu shot now through Halloween.

Safeway is holding vaccine clinics Saturday:


5660 Baltimore Natl Pike  Baltimore  Baltimore  August 29: 11-3pm 
4401 Harford Rd.  Baltimore  Baltimore  August 29: 1-5pm 
15916 Crain Hwy., SE  Brandywine  Prince Georges  August 29: 11-3pm 
10335 Reisterstown Rd.  Owings Mills  Baltimore  August 29: 11-3pm 
6235 Oxon Hill Rd.  Oxon Hill  Prince Georges  August 29: 12-4pm 
4211 Mountain Rd.  Pasadena  Anne Arundel  August 29: 11-3pm 
3499 Sweet Air Rd.  Phoenix  Baltimore  August 29: 11-2pm 
1800 Rockville Pike  Rockville  Montgomery  August 29: 1-5pm 
116 University Blvd.   Silver Spring  Montgomery  August 29: 1-5pm 


500 S. Royal St.  Alexandria  Alexandria City  August 29: 12-5pm 
299 S. Van Dorn St.  Alexandria  Alexandria City  August 29: 12-4pm 
8646 Richmond Hwy.  Alexandria  Fairfax  August 29: 2-6pm 
7414 Little River Turnpike  Annandale  Fairfax  August 29: 2-6pm 
9525 Braddock Rd.  Fairfax  Fairfax  August 29: 11-3pm 
10350 Willard Way  Fairfax  Fairfax  August 29: 2-6pm 
437 S. King St.  Leesburg  Loudoun  August 29: 11-3pm 
2205 Old Bridge Rd.  Woodbridge  Prince William  August 29: 2-6pm 

No appointment is necessary.

Safeway pharmacies are taking the following precautions:

  • Pharmacy staff all wear masks, gloves and have plexiglass dividers at the pharmacy counter 
  • Wellness rooms are regularly sanitized and cleaned in between patients 
  • All customers are required to wear masks in Safeway stores 
  • Social distancing signs mark waiting areas, with hand sanitizer available at all touchpoints 
  • Flu vaccine recipients will be pre-screened for COVID-19 symptoms 
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