It’s Even More Important to Get Your Flu Shot This Year

Photo: CNK02, Shutterstock
Photo: CNK02, Shutterstock

I told you all in January: if you’re worried about the coronavirus — at that point it hadn’t spread around yet, but people were already freaking out — use that nervous energy to get off your butt and get your damn flu shot. Now that COVID-19 is here to stay, I repeat: get your damn flu shot. It’s even more important now.

No, the flu shot does not protect you from the coronavirus. But it does seriously reduce your chances of contracting the flu, which has similar symptoms and can also be a serious illness.

Do you want to catch the flu, and feel feverish and crappy, and wonder whether you have COVID and where you’re going to get a COVID test and how many days you’ll have to wait to get a result?

Do you want to get complications from the flu, and then have to get in touch with your doctor (or maybe go to the emergency room) during a pandemic when they’re already overwhelmed, and where you might potentially also get COVID?

Do you want to pass the flu on to someone else in your life, leaving them to deal with one of the above scenarios?

Do you even want to think about what the school year will be like with colds and flu and COVID all circulating at the same time?

You do not. I sure don’t, anyway. While we don’t yet have a COVID-19 vaccine, and we don’t have vaccines for the various common cold viruses that circulate every year, we do have a vaccine for the flu. It’s not perfect, but it saves lives every year. According to the CDC, which tracks these numbers, flu shots reduce flu illness by 40 to 60 per cent, on average.

September and October are usually the sweet spot for timing, but honestly, any time you get the flu shot is better than not getting it at all.

So as you’re thinking about how to protect yourself, your family, and your community this fall, make sure you find the time to get yourself a flu shot. Yes, it helps, no, it won’t give you the flu, and if you’re going to argue with me about either of those points, please go read the truth about these common flu shot myths.

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