Oct 15, 2020
‘Why the flu shot matters to me this year’
Every year, the safe and effective flu vaccine prevents millions of illnesses worldwide. This year, amid the coronavirus pandemic, vaccination is more important than ever, according to clinicians.
“As we look to the months ahead the scary reality is that we could face a ‘twindemic’ of COVID-19 and Influenza circulating simultaneously,” said Dr. William Schaffner, medical director of the National Foundation for Infectious diseases at a recent news conference with Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
“It’s not complicated. Everybody six months of age or older should get an annual flu vaccine,” said Fauci, adding; “if you are vaccinated you are less likely to get the flu, and even if you do get sick, flu vaccination can reduce the severity and duration of illness and, importantly, can help to keep you out of the hospital.”
Infants under six months old and those with severe, life-threatening allergies to flu vaccine or its ingredients are unable to get the shot, which makes it more important for the rest of us to get vaccinated.
“It’s especially critical this year that we do everything we can to protect the most vulnerable among us,” noted Dr. Katherine Dallow, medical director of clinical programs and strategy at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. “I encourage those who don’t normally get a flu shot to reconsider and think about their loved ones and others they may come into contact with who are at high risk.”
Recently, Coverage readers shared with us their reasons for getting vaccinated this year.
“I do feel it is even more important to get the flu shot this year. It is expected that COVID-19 will get worse this fall and if a person were to get the flu, their immune system would be compromised and more susceptible to other illnesses like COVID-19. By getting the flu vaccine you are decreasing your chances of getting the flu and spreading it to other people who may or may not be able to recover. I personally will be getting the flu vaccine to protect myself, my family and others whom I come into contact with. With the cool air, and people staying inside more we have to prevent whatever virus we can.”
“I've gotten the flu shot for the last eight years in a row. This year I'm going back to school and had to get vaccinated. I would have anyways because I don't want to get sick with the flu and miss class time. My education is too important to me. Plus I want to make sure I'm not the reason others get sick.”
“My whole family will be vaccinated this year. First, it is required by the school. Second, we think it is especially important to do so during COVID. We cannot put more stress on the healthcare system. Having both flu and COVID at the same time would overwhelm the system.”
“Just like wearing a mask and social distancing, getting a flu shot is one more small thing that most anyone can do to help stop the spread of viruses.”
“During this pandemic, it’s very important to get flu shots so we can protect ourselves AND loved ones from the seasonal strain of flu. That will give additional time and space for doctors and hospitals to treat patients with COVID and other high-priority illness. I would recommend everyone to get vaccine in October as guided by the CDC. I am already spreading word to my family and friends about the importance of the flu vaccine this year.”
“It would be horrible to get both illnesses at the same time and the flu vaccine has been around for years. I am a widow, so my children only have one parent and the risk of getting COVID is enough to worry about. My family and I will be getting the flu vaccine again this year.”