Should you get a flu shot?
By Carson Blomquist
This has been a tough and unpredictable year, but if there is one constant, it is flu season. And that season is just around the corner. With the pandemic not quite over and surges in COVID cases because of new variants, getting a flu shot is particularly important this year.
There are a lot of questions about the flu shot. Here are some healthcare professionals hear the most.
“I’m healthy. I don’t need a flu shot.” Being healthy is all the more reason to get a flu shot. If you get the virus, you may not have many symptoms, but that doesn’t mean you can’t spread it to others. The flu shot doesn’t just protect you; it also protects your loved ones.
“I never leave home. Why should I bother with the flu shot?” These days, we can get almost everything delivered to us: groceries, takeout, medications and more. We wear masks in public and keep our distance from others. And we’re being extra cautious by spending time with loved ones through virtual calls. Even with all these precautions, it doesn’t take much for the flu virus to spread. Consider the flu shot an extra dose of protection.
“I saw something on Facebook about vaccines being unsafe.” Facebook is a fun way to connect with other people. It can also be a spreader of incorrect information. If you’re not sure if the flu shot is right for you, ask your doctor. They know your medical history and can help you make the right choice for your needs.
“I have a lot of health conditions. Is the flu shot safe for me?” The flu can make other conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, much worse. Protecting yourself against the flu means managing your current conditions. It also means talking to your doctor. That may not be the answer you want to hear, but your doctor really does know best. They can listen to your concerns and help you come up with ways to stay safe.
“Is it safe to get the flu shot during the pandemic?” COVID and influenza—what a scary time! You can do your part to be safe—and keep others safe—by getting your flu shot. It’s especially important this year since these are both respiratory viruses. The flu vaccine doesn’t protect against COVID, but it’s a way to keep yourself protected from another dangerous virus.
“Can I get my COVID vaccine and flu vaccine at the same time?” The CDC has stated it is safe to get both vaccines at the same time ( www.cdc.gov/ flu). Not sure if either or both vaccines are right for you? Talk to your primary care doctor. They know your unique health needs and can help you make the best decision.
“Is there a high-dose flu vaccine this year?” The regular flu vaccine is a lot stronger this year. It’s also not made with eggs, which is good news if you have an allergy to eggs.
See story on page 1 for more information on the Flu Shot Clinic.