There is the possibility of a double shot of trouble for individuals and hospitals in Kentucky and throughout the country.

We have struggled against COVID-19 for nearly two years and now we are nearing flu season. We don't need another potentially serious illness to try to avoid.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack is urging Kentucky residents to get a flu shot. We agree, and we urge everyone to get vaccinated against the flu, but we fear many will be as contrary about this vaccine as they are the COVID-19 vaccination.

Stack encourages flu vaccinations because of the large number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

“In a typical winter, flu always drives up the number of people in the hospital. In bad years, hospitals really get strained or taxed with the number of influenza patients who fill them,” Stack said in a statement. “The flu vaccine does protect large numbers of people and prevents substantial burdens to the hospitals.”

Dr. Steven Stack said in a statement if more Kentuckians get immunized against the flu, hospitals will have more capacity to care for COVID patients and other patients as well.

According to Gov. Andy Beshear’s office, dozens of Kentucky hospitals currently are experiencing critical staff shortages and are running out of available beds in adult intensive care units.

The fact about the flu vaccine is it's safe and effective in preventing a serious case of flu, which can cause hospitalization and death. The best-case scenario is those who are vaccinated avoid the flu or have a mild case.

The fact about the COVID-19 vaccine is it's safe and effective in preventing a serious case of coronavirus, which is even more likely to cause hospitalization and death. The best-case scenario is those who are vaccinated avoid COVID-19 or have a mild case.

The fact about hospitals is they have other people with other problems that must be tended to. Having a facility at capacity means having to turn away heart attack victims, stroke victims, those with chronic conditions who need attention and all other severe physical ailments.

In addition, those who are vaccinated for both are doing the decent thing: helping to diminish the virus' circulation, which helps protect your neighbor from getting sick.

We are tired of having to report on the pandemic. We are tired of restrictions keeping us from doing things we enjoy. Most of all, we are tired of friends and family being sick and dying from COVID-19.

Being tired of it doesn't mean it's over, though.

Please get vaccinated, for flu and COVID-19. It's the right thing to do, for yourself and others.

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