We want to make sure you’re prepared for the 2020 – 2021 flu season by offering practical information on vaccines. First, it’s essential for healthy people to get a flu shot because influenza is one of the top ten causes of death and one of the most preventable. Flu shots also protect our communities by reducing the spread of disease. Therefore, you’re not only protecting yourself when vaccinating, but you’re protecting others as well.
Given the current COVID-19 pandemic, it’s natural to have additional questions on the importance of getting a flu vaccine.s. We’re offering our patients a resource that covers essential topics around the 2020 – 2021 flu season.
Why Should I Get Vaccinated?
While it’s difficult to predict any flu season, the primary reason for getting vaccinated is because it’s your best shot at avoiding the virus and staying healthy. Immunizations are also essential because they prevent the spread of disease and protect your family, friends, and community.
While some doubt the efficacy of vaccines due to misinformation, immunization data, and research support their effectiveness. The CDC estimates that 49% of the US received the flu vaccine during the 2018 – 2019 influenza season, which prevented 4.4 million illnesses, 58,000 hospitalizations, and 3,500 flu-related deaths.
So, should you get vaccinated during the pandemic? The short answer is yes. The CDC writes, “Getting a flu vaccine this fall will be more important than ever, not only to reduce your risk from flu but also to help conserve potentially scarce health care resources.”
COVID-19 VS. the Common Flu
There’s been a lot of confusion concerning the similarities between COVID-19 and influenza due to ongoing misinformation. To put it simply, the Coronavirus is far more dangerous than the common flu and is an entirely different virus overall.
The CDC notes that a variety of flu viruses have the potential to develop alongside COVID-19. And while the Coronavirus surfaces flu-like symptoms, and because they’re transmitted similarly, it’s important to know that both viruses stand on their own as individual illnesses. So, what are the differences between the common flu and COVID-19? Johns Hopkins Medicine sums up the major commonalities and differences between both viruses:
- Both illnesses cause respiratory issues, fever, body aches, cough, diarrhea, and vomiting, but COVID-19 appears to potentially surface these symptoms more critically
- Both viruses may cause pneumonia, though COVID-19 may lead to a more rapid or fatal respiratory infection
- Both range in their severity and can lead to hospitalization and death, but COVID-19 is far more deadly
How Both Viruses Spread:
- Both are transmitted through droplets
- Both are airborne
- Both spread through contact and live on surfaces
Exclusive to COVID-19:
- Has a higher mortality and hospitalization rate
- Potential to lose your sense of taste and smell
- No vaccine is currently available
- Highly contagious and more likely to be spreadable through asymptomatic carriers
This is by no means an exhaustive list of commonalities and differences, and there remain many unknowns regarding the Coronavirus. Still, it does represent some of the basic distinctions between both illnesses that are important for us to know. To learn more about the Coronavirus, we recommend visiting the CDC’s website.
How Do I Get Vaccinated During the 2020 – 2021 Flu Season?
Anyone six months or older should get a flu shot starting in October, with some exceptions. However, as the 2020 – 2021 flu season develops and begins to circulate, and if you haven’t gotten yours by October, your doctor will recommend a flu shot as far out as January or later.
If you’re an NWPC patient in the Portland, Oregon area, we invite you to schedule an appointment for a flu shot beginning on October 12th, 2020. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we will not be accepting walk-in appointments to receive the flu vaccine at this time. For now, there are two ways for you to get your flu shot from NWPC:
- Ask for a flu shot during a routine visit with your practitioner
- Call 503.353.1292 beginning October 12th to schedule a flu vaccine visit with a nurse
We recommend speaking with your practitioner if you have additional questions or concerns about the 2020 – 2021 flu season or other medical needs you wish to address. Remember, NWPC is always here for you when you need us.