Importance of Flu Shots Heightened During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Health care workers faced a difficult challenge this year — treating patients with the unpredictable COVID-19 virus. But now that fall is upon us, health care workers have an additional challenge — the common flu.
Flu season usually starts in October and peaks between December and February. Battling COVID-19 at the same time as the flu has many experts in the health care industry concerned. That is why many are campaigning for individuals to get a flu shot.
If you offer flu shots onsite, consider offering them as soon as possible. And, if you have employees working from home, encourage them to come into the office for the shot or suggest they visit their doctor, pharmacy or supermarket to get inoculated. Off-site vaccination sites are planned this year at community centers, senior centers, libraries, sports arenas and parking lots.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. flu vaccine is 40 percent effective on average, because it is developed at the end of each flu season and is based on the four most prevalent strains of the flu circulating at that time.
Of course, the same strains may or not be present the next flu season. Still, those vaccines reduce the chances that someone exposed to the virus will have symptoms severe enough to visit a doctor or hospital. And, while a flu vaccine will not protect against COVID-19, it can reduce the risk of illness, hospitalization and death. It also can help a health care system already burdened by COVID-19 and lessen the odds flu and COVID-19 patients will infect each other.
Anyone older than the age of six months can get a flu shot. However, the CDC reports that more than half of Americans don’t get immunized in a typical year.