All of us have heard how the coronavirus is just like the flu, or how the flu kills more people each year than COVID-19. The reality is, though they both share similarities, there are real differences that set these two apart. These differences also explain why vaccines are necessary for both the flu and COVID-19 and why you shouldn’t skip either once the COVID one becomes available.
Flu and COVID-19 Similarities
The flu and COVID-19 both have varying severities and share many common symptoms. Fever, cough, body aches, vomiting, and diarrhea are experienced in both. They can also each result in pneumonia and affect the younger and older populations more severely. In the most acute cases, both can result in death.
Both viruses are spread in similar ways, through respiratory droplets, contaminated surfaces, and by people in the initial stages of the infection that didn’t know they were contagious. The initial treatment findings found that antiviral medications seem effective against COVID as well as the flu. Treatment for both also focuses on treating symptoms such as fever and ventilation assistance for dire cases.
SARS-CoV-2 caused the virus we know as COVID-19, while the flu comes from several different types and strains of the flu virus that circulate each year. COVID has many more asymptomatic people than the flu and loss of smell and taste, which are not present with the flu. Though researchers are still working to bring a vaccine to the public, the flu has several vaccines covering age groups and protects against the most dangerous strains.
Research Studies and the COVID-19 Vaccine
Vaccines mimic the harmful viruses that make us sick. They give our bodies the playbook on preventing us from getting sick if we ever get infected with that virus. Viruses save millions upon millions of people every single year.
The World Health Organization is tracking more than 170 potential vaccines for COVID-19. While routine vaccines take years to develop and test, health officials hope for vaccine distribution sometime next year. The flu infection fatality rate is less than 0.1 percent. This is roughly ten times less than that of COVID-19 (current estimates range from 0.5 percent to 1 percent). However, the flu still claims the lives of 30,000 to 60,000 Americans every year.
Given there is no current COVID vaccine, why overwhelm the hospital systems with the flu by not getting the available vaccine? Bottom line, get your flu shot, and when the COVID vaccine comes out, get that one too. Nine vaccines are currently in phase 3 trials thanks to FDA fast-tracking, research studies, and volunteers who participate. To join the fight to end COVID-19, browse enrolling COVID studies in your area by visiting our website here.