Each year, influenza epidemics result in 1 billion infections and between 300,000 and 500,000 deaths globally. Sadly, the majority of these incidents could be prevented if people simply received a flu vaccine, so why aren’t they getting vaxxed?
Most adults are hesitant because they’re concerned about the side effects of the vaccine. Others simply don’t believe the vaccine is that effective. Yet, while it’s by no means perfect, the injection is safe for most healthy populations and does provide significant protection against the seasonal virus.
This year, it’s more important than ever to get your flu vaccine. Here’s why:
1. Boost Immunity To Prevent Sickness
More than four in 10 Americans don’t plan to get their flu vaccine this year, which means those who remain unvaxxed have a higher likelihood of contracting the virus and getting sick. Moreover, the flu virus is constantly changing, and your body’s immune response naturally grows weaker over time, so an annual, updated vaccine is required to provide continuous protection.
Modern flu vaccines also guard against multiple types of influenza, which can boost overall immunity and provide superior protection during the fall and winter months. In fact, 99% of those who got 2020-2021 flu season shots received quadrivalent vaccines. These deliver broader infection protection than a trivalent shot.
2. Reduce Hospitalizations And Death
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that, during the 2019-2020 flu season, 400,000 were hospitalized and 22,000 died from contracting the virus. That same year, vaccines prevented 3.69 million medical visits, 105,00 hospitalizations, and 6,3000 deaths. Getting the shot is crucial to reducing hospitalizations and deaths in healthy and vulnerable populations alike.
In addition to lowering mortality rates, getting the vaccine can also free up hospital beds and preserve health care resources for patients with other diseases and conditions, including COVID-19. This way, the people who require immediate medical attention get the help they need and you stay healthy and free of costly medical bills.
3. Minimize Risk Of Cardiac Events
Experts caution that it is possible to get COVID-19 and the flu simultaneously, and the health implications aren’t yet clear. However, they do know that, even without the influence of COVID-19, patients with heart disease and other cardiovascular conditions are at increased risk of complications from the flu.
From heart attack to stroke, these people can suffer major cardiac events. Luckily, getting a vaccine can reduce their risk of getting sick and experiencing one of these life-threatening complications.
4. Protect Your Loved Ones
Most people are eligible to receive a flu vaccine. However, vulnerable populations like infants and the immunocompromised may not be able to receive shots. In this case, they’re at the mercy of others and whether or not they decide to get vaccinated. If you fail to armor up, you could easily transmit the disease to a loved one who may suffer serious consequences as a result.
Do your part in protecting yourself and others by getting vaxxed. Should you choose to do so, your decision will also boost herd immunity. When a high enough percentage of the population receives a vaccine, there’ll be a lower risk of disease spreading throughout the community — and the planet as a whole.
Getting Your Vaccine
Most doctors recommend getting your flu vaccine by the end of October, before the start of flu season. However, it’s not too late to get your shot, so there’s no time like the present to schedule an appointment and check it off your to-do list. Contact your health care provider or a local pharmacy, health department, or urgent care clinic to find free vaccines near you and armor up today. That way, you can stay safe and healthy all season long.