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Atrium Health Navicent Physicians Advise Vaccine is Your Best Defense Against the Flu

Doctors encourage the community to get vaccinated against flu as early as possible

Influenza, commonly called “the flu,” is a contagious respiratory disease that can lead to serious illness, hospitalization, or death. The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones against influenza is to get vaccinated every flu season.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone aged 6 months and older get an annual flu vaccine. During 2019-2020, flu vaccination prevented an estimated 7.5 million influenza illnesses and 6,300 influenza-associated deaths, according to the CDC. The flu vaccine has been shown to reduce the risk of having to go to the doctor with flu by 40 percent to 60 percent.

This winter, the CDC predicts both the flu and COVID-19 viruses will be spreading at the same time, and that it is possible to contract the flu and COVID-19 at the same time. For this reason, doctors at Atrium Health Navicent recommend getting a flu shot as soon as possible, ideally before the end of October. Flu vaccines and COVID-19 vaccines can be given at the same time, according to the CDC. However, if you currently have COVID-19, it is advised to wait until you are not acutely ill to get the flu vaccine.

What are some other key reasons to get the flu vaccine?

• Flu vaccination prevents illnesses, medical visits, hospitalizations, and deaths.

• Flu vaccination is an important preventive tool for people with chronic health conditions. Flu vaccination has been associated with lower rates of some cardiac events among people with heart disease.

• Vaccinating pregnant women helps protect them from flu illness and hospitalization, and has been shown to help protect the baby from flu infection for several months after birth, before the baby can be vaccinated.

• A 2017 study showed that flu vaccination can be life-saving in children.

• While some people who get vaccinated still get sick, flu vaccination has been shown in several studies to reduce the severity of the illness.

“Because of the decreased flu activity we saw last year, this could lead to decreased immunity within the population. This, in turn, could then lead to seeing more flu cases early on and potentially more severe infections. It is imperative to get the flu vaccine,” said Dr. Gorby Leon, medical director for Atrium Health Navicent Primary Care Fort Valley and a physician at Atrium Health Navicent Primary Care Family Medicine Byron and Atrium Health Navicent Peach. To find a doctor, visit and click “Find A Doctor.” To schedule a COVID vaccine, visit

About Atrium Health Navicent

Atrium Health Navicent is the leading provider of healthcare in central and south Georgia and is committed to its mission of elevating health and well-being through compassionate care. Atrium Health Navicent provides high-quality, personalized care in 53 specialties at more than 50 facilities throughout the region. As part of the largest, integrated, nonprofit health system in the Southeast, it is also able to tap into some of the nation’s leading medical experts and specialists with Atrium Health, allowing it to provide the best care close to home – including advanced innovations in virtual medicine and care. Throughout its 125-year history in the community, Atrium Health Navicent has remained dedicated to enhancing health and wellness for individuals throughout the region through nationally recognized quality care, community health initiatives and collaborative partnerships. It is also one of the leading teaching hospitals in the region, helping to ensure viability for rural health care for the next generation. For more information, please visit