Hallberg: Flu shots help you, but also our stretched health care system

Flu shot
A nurse practitioner prepares a seasonal flu vaccination for a patient at a clinic in Chicago.
M. Spencer Green | AP 2009

Doctors are urging people to get flu shots to keep themselves as healthy as possible during the pandemic. But they also want to minimize what Dr. Jon Hallberg calls a “winter bump” in hospitalizations.

“Every year, influenza affects millions of people,” said Hallberg, medical director of the University of Minnesota Physicians Mill City Clinic. “Thousands upon thousands of people get so sick they need to be hospitalized. Every year, somewhere around 35,000 people die from influenza. We just have that fact, on top of the fact that we’re now dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. So if we don’t take steps to decrease influenza cases, we run the risk of overwhelming our hospitals.”

Hallberg spoke with MPR News host Tom Crann. Hear their full conversation using the audio player above.

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