Top 8 Reasons to Get the Flu Shot
There are so many reasons to get your flu shot!
- “The flu stinks.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that, between October 1, 2019 and April 4, 2020, the flu caused as many as 50 million people to get sick, about 25 million medical visits, around 500,000 hospitalizations, and about 30,000 deaths.
- “The flu vaccine really works!” Like COVID-19, the flu is a contagious respiratory disease that can lead to serious illness, hospitalization, and death. The vaccine prevents the flu in most cases. If you get the flu after a flu shot, the symptoms are less severe. What’s more, did you know that flu vaccines are associated with lower rates of cardiac events among people with heart disease? Pregnant women and their unborn babies benefit from flu vaccines, as well. And the 2018 – 2019 flu vaccine reduced kids’ influenza A-associated hospitalizations and ED visits by 40 – 60 percent. That’s amazing!
- “I know I need a flu vaccine every year.” While it would be great if the immunity from last year’s flu shot carried over, it just doesn’t. As we learned with COVID, viruses change all of the time, and this year’s flu vaccine is specially formulated to fight this year’s flu. Even if the virus stayed the same, your body needs a reminder to be on the lookout for the flu virus.
- “It is super safe.” Hundreds of millions of Americans have received flu vaccines over the past 50 years. Extensive research supports the safety of flu vaccines. We know from the COVID vaccine review process, the regulatory and advisory agencies responsible for review and approval take their time, make sure vaccines are safe, and let us know when even the smallest concern arises.
- “The side effects of the vaccine are way better than the disease.” You might get a little soreness or swelling at the vaccine site. A few people will experience a low-grade fever or some aches. Even the worst side effects last no longer than 24 hours and are easily managed with an over-the-counter pain reliever. The flu itself is horrible and can last a week or two.
- “It’s so easy.” Southwestern Vermont Health Care offers vaccines for everyone age 5 and older without an appointment at the COVID Resource Center. All kids aged 6 months and older can get a flu vaccine at their pediatrician’s office. Adults can also choose to get their flu vaccine at their primary care office or at a local pharmacy. And just like you can get COVID and the flu at the same time, you can get the COVID vaccine and the flu vaccine at the same time too.
- “It’s a good financial decision.” Most insurances cover the cost completely. They know that it makes better sense to pay for the vaccine now, rather than pay the hospital bill later. If you don’t get the vaccine, you are more likely to need medical care, and you could be on the hook for some of that expense.
- “I know my local healthcare providers are working hard to help COVID patients. By getting vaccinated, I am helping to make sure they don’t have to treat me too.” That is so thoughtful, and you are right. Your local healthcare workers are very busy taking care of COVID patients and other patients in their clinics and at the hospital. Keeping yourself healthy is a great way to help out. Thank you.
What’s your reason? Share it at email@example.com, and we will include it in an upcoming e-newsletter.
Donna Barron, RN, is an infection preventionist at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington.