The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates fewer than half of all Americans received a flu shot last year. That number could be even worse this year. I keep hearing talk of people skipping the flu shot to avoid getting COVID-19. I urge you, PLEASE DO NOT DELAY OR AVOID GETTING YOUR FLU SHOT THIS YEAR.
COVID-19 is a serious threat, and everyone must remain on guard to protect one another from the spread of this potentially deadly virus. But avoiding one virus by refusing a critical vaccine for another is a prescription for catastrophe. Some avoid the shot because they believe that the shot causes the flu. It’s not possible. If you get the flu after getting the shot, it’s because you were already infected.
Dr. Derick Young has been treating patients for almost two decades. He warns you could be putting yourself in grave danger if you skip or delay getting a flu shot.
“It is possible to get both the flu and COVID-19 at the same time,” says Dr. Young, senior medical director for WellMed. “Influenza and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. The flu shot will not keep you from getting COVID-19, but it could protect you from getting sick with both illnesses at the same time.”
It’s a double whammy you want to avoid.
The CDC recommends everyone six months or older get a flu shot as early as September. You must get the vaccine annually because the flu virus is constantly changing. What works one year may not work the next. It’s especially important for those considered high-risk. That includes anyone over age 65, pregnant women, young children, health care providers, and those with chronic health conditions like cancer, heart disease, asthma and diabetes. There are some exceptions, so please talk with your primary care provider to determine if the flu shot is right for you.
At WellMed, we are providing safe and quick flu vaccinations a little differently this year. Our patients call to make an appointment. Then, they call again when they arrive. A health care professional comes to the vehicle to give the shot, weather permitting.
If a patient needs to come into the clinic, perhaps for treatment of another issue, they can rest assured knowing we follow the CDC guidelines to keep our patients and employees safe.
You can also find flu clinics near you by going to cdc.gov/flu/resource-center.
This is the year of prevention and caution. It may seem as if you constantly are bombarded with new rules and guidelines. It can be overwhelming. But it’s what we must do to keep one another safe and healthy.
I urge you to let go of your fear and mistrust. Think positive thoughts and act with positive intention. Try to do something good for at least one person every day. It can be as simple as a smile or a kind word. A good deed can be more infectious than even the strongest virus. I promise. We must all help each other.
Lastly, please know that WellMed CARES about your health and happiness.
Dr. George Rapier is founder of WellMed