Why Getting the Flu Vaccine is So Important This Year
We know that getting the flu vaccine this year, with COVID-19 still spreading throughout our communities, is more important than ever. SCHA asked Jonathan Knoche, MD, MPH, and a Medical Consultant with the Divison of Acute Disease Epidemiology at the SC Department of Health & Environmental Control, a few questions to elucidate that reality. Below are a few of his simple and direct responses.
Why is it important to get a flu vaccine every year, and why is it especially so this year because of COVID-19?
If you’re able, it’s important to get a flu shot each year to protect yourself and those around you from getting the flu. It’s safe and effective, and even if you get the flu after getting the shot, your symptoms will be milder and you’ll be less likely to be hospitalized. This year with COVID-19 circulating so widely, keeping people out of the hospital is a good thing. We want to keep healthcare resources available for those with COVID-19.
What do you tell people who aren’t worried about catching the flu?
Some people may not think that the flu is a big deal for them and think that the flu shot doesn’t work. But when we look at the whole community, we know that the more people who are vaccinated, the healthier everyone stays.
Besides getting a flu vaccine, what else should South Carolinians do to prevent the spread of the flu?
Besides getting a flu shot this winter season, people should continue to wear face masks, keep physical distance, and wash their hands frequently. The same measures that protect people from getting COVID-19 also protect them from catching the flu.