‘A Grizzly’s Guide to a Healthier Y(OU)’: Do you need a flu shot?

Campus+Editor+and+Columnist%2C+Gabrielle+Abdelmessih.

Photo courtesy of Gabrielle Abdelmessih

Campus Editor and Columnist, Gabrielle Abdelmessih.

Gabrielle Abdelmessih, Editor-in-Chief

I know we discussed COVID-19 vaccines last week, but there should be another vaccine on your medical to-do list for the fall: the flu shot.

Why?

While it is recommended that everyone (six months and older) get the flu vaccine every year, this flu season is different. Last year, infections, hospitalizations and deaths from the flu were just 1% as many as the average flu season. COVID-19 precautions like social distancing, mask-wearing and other infection prevention measures likely played a role in that decrease. With the help of COVID-19 vaccines, more people are now going to work, school and traveling. But with more people interacting coupled with the reduced immunity brought on by pandemic isolation, it begs the question of how severe this flu season will be, which is why health experts are saying now more than ever it is important to be inoculated against the flu — especially before the onset of flu season.

“People are back at work. Also, because we didn’t have much of a flu season last year, there are a lot of people who may not have much immunity to influenza. And so this is why it’s so important for everyone to get the flu vaccine, and also to get the COVID vaccine. They are two different viruses. But thankfully, there are vaccines developed for both of these. It’s really important to protect against both influenza as well as COVID-19,” Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician, told Yahoo! News.

How bad could this flu season be?

In a study that has yet to be peer-reviewed, scientists developed a multi-season influenza model that took a look at influenza immunity over the course of multiple flu seasons. Their model predicts an increase in influenza for 2021-2022 after the 2020-2021 season. The study approached this upcoming flu season from a variety of hypothetical scenarios and vaccine uptakes — I highly recommend the read if you’re interested!

What steps can one take to protect themselves against the flu?

As always, consult with your physician and get the flu shot! There are several vaccine options to choose from, and the CDC does not recommend one over the other. However, age, allergies and if one is pregnant may need one option over the others. Please consult with your physician if you have questions regarding which vaccine is best for you. The CDC also recommends washing your hands, avoiding touching your face, hands and mouth, as other good health habits you can make.

Other concerns:

According to the CDC, you get can your flu vaccine and your COVID-19 vaccine in the same visit.

-Misconceptions regarding the flu vaccine are addressed here.

-Please visit https://vaccinateyourfamily.org/vaccines-diseases/current-flu-season/ for more information regarding flu vaccines.

Where can one get a flu vaccine?

To find a flu vaccine near you, please visit vaccine.gov. Flu vaccines are covered by insurance. If you are not sure how to pay for you or your family’s vaccines, please visit https://vaccinateyourfamily.org/vaccines-diseases/current-flu-season/

Have any questions about the flu or flu vaccines? Ask them in the comment section and I will answer with responses backed up by credible sources!