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Fighting COVID-19 and the flu with two vaccines

Officials warn of a 'twindemic,' in which hospitals could be overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients and flu patients.

MINNEAPOLIS — At the Open Street Minnehaha community fair, a whole new meaning to family fun is taking hold.

"We just got our flu shots," said one eager father, who brought his three kids.

Frontline health care workers are now racing against two enemies: the flu and COVID-19 - both of which have vaccines as the best way to combat potential serious illness.

"I got COVID on the job," said Rhonda Korman, a registered nurse working with Hennepin Healthcare.

For Rhonda, the race is personal aside from her own battle with the virus.

"I've lost maybe 40 people that I've cared for over the last 12 years so it's been very challenging."

With COVID cases on the rise and a flu season knocking on our door, nurses are showing up at community events like Open Streets, offering vaccinations for both COVID and the flu.

"We've heard it can be a little bit worse this year," Said Rhonda. "We don't want flu along with COVID running rampant and everyone getting sick."

But time is of the essence, with hospitals around the state running low on ICU bed space. Health officials fear a bad flu season could spell even more trouble.

"We're seeing a lot of pressure on our hospitals...We don't want to be in that situation," Doug Schultz said, an information officer with Minnesota Department of Health. "Get the flu shot and get the COVID shot when you have the opportunity."

Community events like Open Streets may be the solution, according to Schultz.

Schultz added that you shouldn't be concerned about getting the COVID vaccine and flu shot in the same day, and any questions can be easily answered by your general practitioner.

Kate Winkel, a Twin Cities resident who attended Open Streets on Sunday, got both her COVID-19 booster shot along with her flu shot.

"With everybody dining indoors now I think it's very important everybody gets their [shots]...and wear a mask," Winkel said.