October 3, 2020 – Who wants a flu vaccination? You and your family
members do! The vaccine protects you during the height of flu season and
beyond in two ways: It can help your body fend off the flu virus entirely,
or it can lessen your symptoms if you get the virus.
It also protects people around you who may not be able to get a flu shot,
such as babies younger than six months old and people who have certain
chronic health conditions that prevent them from being vaccinated.
“Just as importantly, it will help keep physician offices and hospitals
from being overwhelmed with severe flu cases,” says
Steven F. Mosher, M.D., a board-certified internal medicine physician specializing in infectious
disease and member of the Southeast Georgia Health System medical staff.
“This is an absolute necessity this year because hospitals nationwide
are trying to save people with complications of COVID-19. Severe flu cases
and people with COVID-19 can require the same types of health care resources,
such as ventilators and intensive care.”
The flu vaccine prevents tens of thousands of hospitalizations annually,
according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). You
can do your part to help support health care heroes in your community
by getting vaccinated.
What Does the Science Say?
Studies about flu shots show that being vaccinated against influenza helps:
Pregnant women and their babies. Pregnant women who receive a flu shot are 40% less likely, on average,
to require hospitalization due to the flu, according to a study published
in the Clinical Infectious Diseases journal. Newborns benefit, too, from
immunity acquired through their mothers’ vaccine, which protects
them for several months during a time when they are too young to be vaccinated.
Children. Kids with underlying medical conditions who are vaccinated against the
flu have a 51% reduced risk of dying from influenza, while children in
good health who are vaccinated have a 65% reduced risk, according to a
study by the CDC.
Everyone else, even people who get the flu despite having a flu shot. In a study of hospitalized flu patients published in the journal Clinical
Infectious Diseases, patients who had been vaccinated were less likely
than unvaccinated patients to be admitted to the intensive care unit or
die from influenza. The study also showed vaccinated people benefited
from shorter hospital stays.
Who Should Get a Flu Vaccine?
“With rare exceptions, everyone ages six months and older needs a
flu vaccine,” says Mosher. “The more people who get vaccinated
against influenza, the better it is for everyone because the spread and
severity of the disease will be lessened. I highly recommend getting a
flu shot, especially this year.”
Flu shots are widely available in the fall and winter. In addition to local
pharmacies, flu vaccines are available at Southeast Georgia Physician
primary care and
pediatric offices. For more information, or to find a doctor, call 855-ASK-SGHS