People put in a lot of effort to push for vaccination every year when the flu season rolls around, but we’re seeing an even larger effort this year in light of COVID-19. Want to know why? That’s what I’m here for.
It’s probably not a surprise that medical professionals are recommending the flu vaccine for everybody this year, even in the midst of an emphasis on social distancing. Every year, only about 45% of American get a flu vaccine despite an annual death rate in the multiple tens of thousands. On top of that, there’s a marked disparity of vaccinations by race and ethnicity in the United States. For example, the 2017-2018 flu season saw only a 28% flu vaccination rate among our Hispanic communities.
There are so many reasons to get a vaccine, even in a year where we’re not also concerned about COVID-19. Here’s a quick list.
- It’s proven to be safe. The most common side effect is some muscle ache or soreness at the injection site, with more severe side effects occurring in less than 2 cases per million people injected.
- It cuts down on the demand for hospital and emergency room staff, which frees up beds and time for COVID patients. Also – more space for your drunk uncle when he does something dumb while over-drinking egg nog this holiday season.
- COVID-19 is a very different but potentially equality-contagious disease than the flu, which means it’s very possible for you to get both at the same time. Yes, you could get the two deadly diseases at the same time when at least one of them was preventable with a vaccine.
- The flu vaccine is abundant. The CDC projects almost 200 million doses will be made available this year, up nearly 30 million from last year.
- It’s free or at least very cheap. For example, stores like Rite Aid and Walgreens are offering free influenza vaccines in their pharmacies, and they’re available without an appointment. Just walk in and get your shot or nasal spray.
You really can’t beat that.
I’m putting some links to additional resources from the Centers for Disease Control in my show notes, which you can find in your podcast app or by visiting BenGarves.com. One of them is safety information about the vaccine, and the other is a quick guide. If you’re looking for a free flu shot, just Google, “free flu vaccine near me”.