It’s Time for Flu Shots!
**FOLLOWING A DISCUSSION WITH HY-VEE AND THE BETHEL RE-ENGAGEMENT TASK FORCE, WE HAVE DECIDED TO NOT HOLD FLU SHOT CLINIC AT BETHEL THIS YEAR. PLEASE CONTACT YOUR PRIMARY CARE PROVIDER OR LOCAL PHARMACY ABOUT RECEIVING THE FLU VACCINE. WE HOPE TO HAVE IT AGAIN IN 2021.**
By Kathy Ferguson, RN, Parish Nurse
Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise. Jeremiah 17:14
It is fall in Minnesota. There are so many wonderful things about this season—cooler temperatures, leaves to crunch in, beautiful colors and scents, abundant crops, flu shots. Wait—flu shots? Yes, flu shots. I think that after living through the past 6 months with the COVID-19 pandemic we can appreciate a vaccine that prevents influenza. This year, more than any other year, it is important that we get a flu shot. Getting a flu vaccine is an essential part of protecting your health and your family’s health this season.
The information below is from the CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/index.htm
Who should get vaccinated this season?
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 from influenza—people with chronic health conditions, individuals 65 years old and older, children under age 2, pregnant women, and people who live in nursing homes or long-term care facilities.
Do we need to get a flu vaccine earlier this year (i.e. July/August)?
There is no change in CDC’s recommendation on timing of vaccination this flu season. Getting vaccinated in July or August is too early, especially for older people, because of the likelihood of reduced protection against flu infection later in the flu season. September and October are good times to get vaccinated. However, as long as flu viruses are circulating, vaccination should continue, even in January or later.
Will there be changes in how and where flu vaccine is given this fall and winter?
How and where people get a flu vaccine may need to change due to the COVID-19 pandemic. CDC works with healthcare providers and state and local health departments to develop contingency plans on how to vaccinate people against flu without increasing their risk of exposure to respiratory germs, like the virus that causes COVID-19. Ask your doctor, pharmacist, or health department if they are following CDC’s vaccination pandemic guidance. Any vaccination location following CDC’s guidance should be a safe place for you to get a flu vaccine.
Some settings that usually provide flu vaccine, like workplaces or churches, may not offer vaccination this upcoming season, because of the challenges with maintaining social distancing.
What is the difference between Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19?
Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. Because some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone, and testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis. Flu and COVID-19 share many characteristics, but there are key differences between the two.
Is COVID-19 more dangerous than flu?
Flu and COVID-19 can both result in serious illness, including illness resulting in hospitalization or death. While there is still much to learn about COVID-19, at this time, it does seem as if COVID-19 is more deadly than seasonal influenza; however, it is too early to draw any conclusions from the current data. This may change as we learn more about the number of people who are infected who have mild illnesses.
Will a flu vaccine protect me against COVID-19?
Getting a flu vaccine will not protect against COVID-19. Flu vaccines have been shown to reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalization and death. Getting a flu vaccine this fall will be more important than ever. A flu vaccine this season can also help reduce the burden on our healthcare systems responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and save medical resources for care of COVID-19 patients.
Does the flu shot increase your risk of getting COVID-19?
There is no evidence that getting a flu vaccine increases the risk of getting COVID-19.
The more people vaccinated; the more people protected. Do your part. Get a flu vaccine this fall.