This flu season
By Sheri Bonner, President & CEO of Planned Parenthood Pasadena & San Gabriel Valley | Oct. 9, 2020, 9:22 p.m.
In our lifetimes, there has never been a more important season to be vaccinated against flu. This month, we began providing flu vaccines to our patients, thanks to generous support from Pasadena Community Foundation and the Ann Peppers Foundation, which both provided PPPSGV with emergency pandemic response funds.
For most of our patients, we are their only source of health care. We function as an irreplaceable safety net in the prevention and detection of diseases in our community. And because we care about the health and safety of our community, we are proud to offer flu vaccines to our patients.
Flu (influenza) infection affects 5-15% of all persons in the US every year, leading to an estimated 3.1 million days of hospitalization and 32.4 million outpatient visits.
Having seen the devastating effects of COVID-19 in our community, we do not want a dual pandemic of COVID-19 and influenza placing strain on our hospitals and our hearts. We must continue to take this pandemic very seriously and remember to wash our hands, wear our masks, and keep a safe distance.
We encourage you all to get vaccinated, because the more of us who are protected against the flu, the better the impact.
Click here to see our Instagram post about the flu vaccine!
As a trusted source of health care, we would also like to address some frequent concerns about the flu shot:
- The flu shot cannot cause you to develop the flu. Injectable flu vaccines contain inactivated virus. Occasionally, people feel ill or have a low-grade fever after receiving the injection because they are experiencing an immune response.
- The flu shot is safe in pregnancy and the CDC recommends that all pregnant women receive vaccination as they are at higher risk of flu-related complications. The immunity from a flu shot can be passed from a pregnant woman to the infant, protecting the newborn baby from the potentially deadly flu virus.
- The flu vaccine is not 100% effective, but it's very good. Each year, great effort is made to predict and combat the most common strains of influenza. People who have received the flu shot are less likely to be hospitalized or die if they do get the flu.
- It takes about two weeks for your body to develop antibodies after you are vaccinated, so get your flu vaccine early!
- Some people cannot get the flu vaccine, but most can. Some people feel lousy after getting the flu shot (see point 1), but this is not a contraindication for immunization. If you have a medical condition that may prevent you from receiving the vaccine, please speak with your primary care provider. Remember, because some people have decreased immunity, it is important for those with healthy immune systems to get the vaccine to protect the people around us who cannot.
Handwashing and avoiding touching your face is critically important during COVID-19, cold, and flu season.