PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Raising awareness for National Influenza Vaccination Week, Portland CVS Manager Shazia Zafar joined AM Extra to share the importance of getting the flu vaccine, especially as Oregon sees a spike in COVID and RSV cases.

According to Zafar, flu vaccines usually become available in pharmacies in August or September, but she points out that it’s not too late to get the vaccine.

“Flu is on the rise, it peaks usually December through February,” Zafar said. “To help ward that off it’s a really good idea to get your vaccination.”

Debunking misconceptions about flu vaccines, Zafar said even if you have had the flu, it’s still important to get the vaccine because of the various strains. She also points out that despite flu vaccine side effects, such as a low-grade fever and feeling sick for up to 72 hours, the vaccine does not give you the flu. Rather, it’s the body adjusting to the vaccine.

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National Influenza Vaccination Week comes as Oregon has seen a spike in respiratory illnesses including COVID, RSV and the flu.

“We’re not completely out of the woods,” Zafar said, noting that flu and COVID-19 vaccines can be administered at the same time.