Getting a flu shot is more important than ever this year. According to the CDC, it’s likely that the flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will be spreading within our communities simultaneously this fall and winter.
Why is it more important than ever to get the flu shot vaccine?
To answer that question, we talked with Dr. Joshua Yap from our Tulsa Health Center:
“Getting a flu shot this year is important because it’ll reduce your risk of getting infected by or getting ill from one of the viruses that we know will be around this season. Some people will still get sick from the flu even if they get the flu shot, but the vaccine helps make the illness less severe than it could be.”
Not only can getting the flu shot help reduce the symptoms of the flu if contracted, it can also help prevent over exhausting our health care workers and using up hospital resources. A flu vaccine may also provide several individual health benefits, including keeping you from getting sick with flu, reducing the severity of your illness if you do get the flu and reducing your risk of a flu-associated hospitalization. Routine vaccination prevents illnesses that lead to unnecessary medical visits and hospitalizations, which further strain the health care system. Dr. Yap says:
“You know how the country was trying to flatten the curve to make sure we didn't run out of hospital resources? The flu is a preventable illness that can use up hospital resources when severe. So it is also important to get the flu shot to save on resources in case we have another bad spike of COVID.”
What should I know about getting the flu shot??
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 the flu. The CDC recommends that people get a flu vaccine by the end of October. Now is a perfect time to get your flu shot!
So, who should get their flu shots? The CDC says that everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine every season with rare exceptions. Vaccination is particularly important for people who are at high risk of serious complications.
Planned Parenthood Great Plains is offering flu shots at all of our health centers. We are also still offering telehealth services to reduce in-person visits to better protect our patients and staff during the COVID-19 crisis. To schedule an appointment for a flu shot or wellness exam, call 1-800-230-PLAN or visit our website.
Please note: if you are experiencing a fever OR cough OR shortness of breath OR sore throat, please do not come to our health centers. We do not offer COVID-19 testing in any of our health centers at this time. For more information on testing, call your state health department.