I would like to take this opportunity to educate everyone about the importance of getting a flu vaccine this year. CDC (Centers for Disease Control) recommends use of any licensed, age-appropriate influenza vaccine during the 2020-2021 influenza season. Flu viruses are most common during the fall and winter. The exact timing and duration of flu seasons can vary but influenza activity often begins to increase in October. Most of the time flu activity peaks between December and February, although activity can last as late as May.

Everyone age 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine with rare exceptions. Vaccination is particularly important for people who are at high risk of serious complications from influenza, such as people 65 years and older, children younger than 2 years, adults with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart disease, chronic lung diseases, chronic kidney disease, people with a weakened immune system form diseases or medications, people with a history of stroke, pregnant women and people living in long term care facilities. 

 

Getting the flu shot isn't a 100% guarantee that you won't get the flu. But even if you do get the flu after getting the vaccine, research shows that it reduces the likelihood of severe symptoms. You should get a flu vaccine before flu viruses begin spreading in your community since it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against flu. Make plans to get vaccinated early in fall, before flu season begins. CDC recommends that people get a flu vaccine by the end of October. Children who need two doses of vaccine to be protected should start the vaccination process sooner because the two doses must be given at least four weeks apart.

 

Getting a flu vaccine during 2020-2021 is more important than ever. You do not want to get both flu and COVID-19 together. Vaccination should be deferred (postponed) for people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, regardless of whether they have symptoms, until they have met the criteria to discontinue their isolation. It is likely that flu viruses and COVID-19 viruses will both spread this fall and winter. Health care systems could be overwhelmed treating both patients with flu and COVID-19. In the winter of 2018-19, around 490,600 people in the U.S. had to be hospitalized for flu, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. If we see a large rise in serious flu and COVID cases at the same time this fall and winter, our health system may become overwhelmed and this in turn may lead to greater morbidity and mortality. 

Benefits of flu vaccine- 

  • Flu vaccination can keep you from getting sick with flu
  • Flu vaccination can reduce the risk of flu associated hospitalizations
  • Flu vaccination can act as a preventive tool for people with chronic health conditions. In a meta-analysis of randomized control trials, the use of influenza vaccine was associated with a lower risk of major adverse cardiovascular events
  • Flu vaccine can be lifesaving in children

I hereby urge all the individuals to be proactive in getting your flu shots. You can safely get a flu vaccine at multiple locations including your doctor’s office, health departments and pharmacies.