From the moment the pandemic started, many people have made comparisons between COVID-19 and the flu. According to the experts, the flu vaccine process could help us understand COVID, but the two viruses are not the same.
The research from past flu vaccines was vital in producing the COVID vaccine, but experts warn, one does not prevent the other.
"As far as comparing those. Flu vaccines are not designed to protect against covid and likewise covid vaccines are not designed to protect against the flu. Influenza vaccines do protect against illness, hospitalization, and death," said infectious disease specialist Dr. Gitanjali Pai.
The flu vaccine is cyclical in American life. Every year, experts make changes to the vaccine of the past year to figure out what will be most effective during the upcoming flu season.
"The flu vaccine is needed annually every year for a couple of reasons immune protection from the flu vaccine can decline over time and therefor another flu vaccine is needed for optimal protection," said Dr. Pai.
Compare that to the COVID vaccine, where some people have already been cleared to receive a booster shot. Pai tells us the booster shot will give patients an extra shot of anti-bodies and boost immunity to the virus.
Now people are asking if they will have to receive a COVID shot every year, much like the flu.
"As far as the need for any further doses down the line, that will be dependent on the durability and degree of effectiveness of these additional doses. So, this very fact is being studied and monitored," said Dr. Pai.
Dr. Pai said to keep listening to medical experts. They will publish their findings once they have the proper data.
Dr. Pai reiterated, COVID and the flu are not the same. COVID-19 is causing more people to be seriously ill when compared to the flu and the symptoms last longer. The virus also spreads more rapidly.
She encourages people to get the vaccine, so we can slow down the spread of the virus.