Your flu shot can protect everyone


“I never get sick.” “Last year I got a flu shot and still got the flu.” There are many reasons some people choose not to get a flu shot, but in this year of COVID-19 let’s look at skipping a flu shot from another angle.

Imagine you are living about 225 years ago. Smallpox was a pandemic that was circling the globe. It was a destructive, deadly disease that cost the lives of an estimated 300 million people.  You have a fever and your body is covered with blistering pox. Children are being orphaned.  Whole families are wiped out. There was NO cure. There was no hope because there was no vaccination.

Fortunately, if it wasn’t for one man, an English doctor named Edward Jenner, thousands if not millions more people may have died. Jenner invented the basis for what we now know today as a vaccination. At last there was a way to lessen the destruction of smallpox. Fast forward to today. Smallpox is officially eradicated from the globe. Because of Jenner’s pioneering work, we now have vaccinations for many illnesses. They are overwhelmingly safe and now we are anxiously awaiting a vaccine for COVID-19. There’s hope in the midst of this pandemic!

With the change of seasons and flu season rapidly approaching, there’s still no cure for COVID-19. You might be thinking, “The flu is not as deadly as smallpox or our current pandemic.” You would be right, but they are both illnesses that can cause severe illness and even death. Approximately 12,000 people each year die from the flu, and the annual numbers on COVID-19 deaths remain to be seen.

There are many reasons – more than ever – why getting a flu shot is one of the simplest things you can do to keep yourself, family and the community healthier this winter:

  • Influenza (and COVID-19) can be transmitted to others – even from a symptom-free person. The newborn child or the 80-year-old grandma in your life could get ill from you even if you aren’t sick.
  • Hospitals are already overwhelmed and many near capacity without the flu circulating widely.
  • The possibility of having both the flu and COVID-19 illnesses at once is not out of the question, and there is no data to know the impact this double whammy could have on your health – even if you are a healthy adult.
  • Flu shots are widely available. Most doctor’s offices already have an ample supply.
  • There will be flu shots on the Minnesota State Fairgrounds September 25- 27 from 9 am – 3 pm. Just bring your insurance card and drive up. You and your family can be safely vaccinated without leaving your car.

In this incredible year of unrest, a simple self-care act is getting a flu shot. We have hope today that wasn’t around 225 years ago. (Source CDC)

About the author

Nan Lomen, RNNan Lomen has worked as a Registered Nurse for over 30 years and has actively worked in the area of Worksite Wellness for over 10 years. Her diverse experience includes Intensive Care, Cardiac Rehab, Home Care, Telephonic Triage and management. She is a certified Health Coach specializing in Diabetes and Change Motivation. She is also certified as an education trainer, and written curriculum and is currently facilitating our Lifestyle Education series for worksites. When she isn’t working in her current role as Clinical Supervisor she enjoys CrossFit, hiking, and spending time with family.
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