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Vaccine Awareness

Getting a Flu Vaccination Is More Important Than Ever

Dr. Ernest Grant participating in a COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial, Photo: UNC School of Medicine

Flu vaccination is more imperative as we battle the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s possible for flu viruses and the COVID-19 virus to spread simultaneously, subjecting people to both the seasonal flu and COVID-19 at the same time. This scenario will place a tremendous burden on the already overloaded healthcare system. However, science has proven that vaccines are critical in the control and prevention of infectious disease transmission. And while a COVID-19 vaccine is currently under development, flu vaccines are widely available.

Besides preventing infection, flu vaccines also dramatically reduce the severity of flu symptoms. Simultaneously, it reduces the possibility of mistaking flu symptoms for COVID-19. As our nation faces a resurgence of COVID-19 cases coupled with a perilous flu season, everyone must follow the necessary safety precautions and get a flu vaccination from their healthcare provider. This seemingly small step will continue to protect our communities and relieve our healthcare system.

According to the Race to 200M initiative, an estimated 200 million Americans are at risk of complications from the flu. Though anyone can get the flu, certain people are at an increased risk, including young children, pregnant women, older adults, and people living with chronic health conditions.

The effective protection of public health calls for all individuals to receive immunizations against vaccine-preventable diseases, according to the CDC and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. As such, when we share credible information and get vaccinated against the flu, we are doing our part to protect the vulnerable individuals in our communities. Likewise, everyone should continue wearing a mask in public, washing their hands often, and practicing physical distancing when appropriate. As with COVID-19, these simple but effective precautions are scientifically proven to help keep you and your family safe.

The role of nurses

Because of the tremendous information available, it can be difficult to sift through it all and determine the best source. As the country’s largest group of healthcare professionals, nurses are a great source for credible information. Moreover, nurses have a professional obligation to ensure every patient receives the same type of treatment and vaccination. Nurses can help you understand the benefits, identify misinformation, and ease any skepticism about vaccinations. The American public has consistently ranked nurses as the most honest and ethical of all professionals. This speaks to the influence nurses have, since they serve a critical role within America’s public health infrastructure.

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