JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Doctors are calling fall the season of the “twindemic.”

“It’s priority number one to vaccinated for COVID. Priority number two is to get the flu vaccine,” said Dr. Obie McNair, a physician at Central Mississippi Health Services (CMHS).

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), flu season starts in October and ends around late May. McNair said fewer cases of the flu were reported last year than in years past. He believes that’s largely due to people wearing masks.

“One of the unexpected benefits that we saw last year was with people masking, we also had decreased flu transmission. So, we’re still going to encourage people to continue masking,” said McNair.

“It keeps the virus out of your nose, out of your eyes, out of your mouth. It also prevents you from touching your face so often. So if we can prevent that as well do it for a little longer, we’re trying to get there, please help us out,” said CMHS Family Physician Shardale McAfee.

When it comes to prevention against COVID-19 and the flu, both doctors agree getting vaccinated is a top priority.

“Certainly COVID has show itself to be more deadly than the flu, so we want to encourage everybody and anybody to get the vaccine for COVID. However, there has been a significant amount of deaths every year that we’ve seen for influenza, so we encourage everybody to get the flu vaccine also,” said McNair.

“I know some have some hesitancy on getting the two together, but we have good evidence that it is safe to get both. So regardless of whether you want the COVID or the influenza vaccine, they are both safe and effective to get together,” said McAfee.

CMHS officials said they will start administering the flu shot starting October 1. Doctors said that’s the best time to get it so your body can build up antibodies before flu season peaks in January.