Arkansas Secretary of Health wants residents to get flu shot to avoid overwhelming hospitals

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FILE – This Jan. 23, 2020 file photo shows a patient receiving a flu vaccination in Mesquite, Texas. On Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the vaccine has been more than 50% effective in preventing flu illness severe enough to send a child to the doctor’s office. Health experts consider that pretty good. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — It’s not just the COVID-19 pandemic that has the state’s top doctor worried about hospital capacity in Arkansas, but flu season.

Secretary of Health Dr. Jose Romero says the state saw a very mild flu season last year due to masking and social distancing. Because the same mandates aren’t in effect this year, he worries hospitals could become overwhelmed caring for patients with both viruses.

“We don’t want to see a confluence of both influenza hospitalizations and COVID hospitalizations at the same time that could stress our available beds at this time.”

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