Moda Health. Healthcare from your head to your toes. Delta Dental | Moda Health
< Back to community

Help prevent two invisible enemies at once

People with compromised immune systems can have difficulty fighting off a single virus. The same can be said for healthy people battling multiple diseases at once. Their immune systems can weaken when they are working overtime to defeat two invisible enemies.

"If your body is trying to combat the flu, and you are exposed to COVID-19, now you're having two viruses rampaging your body," said Katie Scheelar, PharmD, Moda Health's Senior Clinical Program Manager, Clinical Pharmacy. "Your system is basically working overtime as opposed to fighting just one invisible enemy at a time."

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Katie said getting a flu shot helps lower the risk of you and those around you from getting two viruses at the same time. Because the flu and COVID-19 have similar symptoms, she said it can be a challenge to determine if you have one or the other. Getting a flu shot doesn't mean you are not going to catch the flu, but if you do, it will be a shorter duration and you'll have less severe symptoms.

"The problem is if you have both infections, those symptoms can be compounded," she said. "Getting the flu vaccine helps diminish the likelihood of a flu diagnosis. Plus, you won't be in a dangerous spot if you become co-infected with COVID, too."

Don't get complacent

Over the past year, many of us have followed federal and state COVID-19 protocols such as working from home, attending classes online, wearing masks and practicing social distancing. That, combined with increased number of flu vaccines given, resulted in a mild flu season. While these precautions played a significant role in lower flu-related hospitalizations, Katie said people shouldn't get complacent. With COVID-19 cases surging, she said getting a flu shot should be a top priority.

"We really don't know what to expect in the coming months. As we are sending our kids back to school and they congregate with other households, it's important that we prepare ourselves for the upcoming flu season and try to make this one non-existent, too," she said. "It's important not to lose sight of that. We only know what a flu season is like after the season is over, which is why prevention is so important."

Get two vaccines at once

According to the CDC, data shows that people can safely get both the flu shot and the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time. This is why Katie strongly encourages that people getting the flu shot also get the COVID vaccine, if they haven't already.

"I think the flu shot is something people are used to getting at their doctor's office or local pharmacy every year. The good part is, you can get your COVID vaccines at those sites, too," she said.

Moda members can visit a local in-network retail pharmacy, including Costco, a clinic or doctor's office to get a flu shot.

Protect your community

Katie said getting both the flu and COVID-19 vaccines go beyond simply protecting yourself. There are other implications that not being immunized can have on your community.

"The decision not to get vaccinated is much more complex now," she said. "Some kids have now spent some of their crucial elementary years or half of their junior high and high school experience at home. They've missed out on the other benefits of going to school to participate, interact, and socialize with their peers and teachers. I'm concerned with the impact on our children's mental health and how it's going to affect them as adults."

Because the flu and COVID-19 can send people to the hospital, Katie said vaccines lower the severity of both illnesses. Getting immunized can lead to less hospitalizations, which is important for our society as a whole.

"People have to realize that it's not just about getting sick with these viruses, then getting the help they need," she said. "With more people in the hospital and our systems reaching capacity, other people can't get important care for other serious conditions. Needed surgeries and procedures are being delayed because there are no resources or space in hospitals. They simply aren't happening."

Vaccinate for others

She said getting vaccinated can help free up hospital resources for people with non-flu or non-COVID related emergencies.

"We don't know when we may interact with someone on chemotherapy or who may be battling other health conditions. We can take this into consideration and take action when it comes to stopping the spread of the flu and COVID-19 viruses," she said. "Let's do it for the veteran across the street who has sacrificed so much so we can live the way we do. Let's protect the child next door who may be ill and unable to get vaccinated."

With the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine (to be marketed as Comirnaty) now fully approved by the FDA, Katie is hoping people who have not been vaccinated will reconsider getting immunized to protect themselves and others in their community.

"I think of the way we have seen communities rally together in times of natural disasters like wildfires and hurricanes, it's the same need for viruses," she said. "It's about coming together to protect the integrity of our society. When it comes to getting vaccinated, I'm hoping that people see that it's about more than just them. It's about keeping our community healthy, open and functioning. For each other. For our future."

Moda Health Months: Our health stories

To read more stories, please visit our Moda Health Community page.

Connect with us

Find us on all the popular social places.


We have exciting news to share. ODS is changing its name to Moda Health.

Moda comes from the latin term "modus" and means "a way". We picked it because that's what we are here to do: help our communities find a way to better health.

Together, we can be more, be better.

Please select the state you live in, or the state where your employer is headquartered, so we can tailor your experience:


Please select the state you live in, or the state where your employer is headquartered, so we can tailor your experience:

Changing your location to Oregon

You can return to your previous location in the site header.