Why I’m Getting The Flu Shot This Year

Sponsored by The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

In the face of COVID-19, staying healthy has been my highest priority, as I am sure it has been for so many other Americans. Now, more than ever I want to encourage my loved ones, to do everything they can to stay healthy during this winter season. We can’t control everything, but there are a few things we can avoid, like catching the flu! Now, more than ever, it’s important for Michigan residents, and citizens across the country, to protect themselves and their families by getting a flu shot this year.

Before you read any further, I want you to ask yourself these questions: Have you considered a flu shot this year? Why or why not? Have you made steps to ensure you’re protecting yourself and your family from any harmful diseases this winter? Have you done everything you can to insure the health and safety of your family during this pandemic?

Dealing with COVID-19 has been enough, between having to stay quarantined more than half the year, having limited access to some of our favorite pastimes, reduced travel and socializing, it’s been a lot to
say the least. But even in the midst of all of this, we still have to continue to be sure that we are doing all we can to keep ourselves protected and healthy the remainder of 2020 going into the new year. In years past, I wasn’t always comfortable with vaccines. It wasn’t until I had my own little one that I really started to research to learn more about vaccines and how they can be helpful to my child. While I was still hesitant about most vaccines, it wasn’t until my infant child was hospitalized from a virus she
contracted at daycare, that I truly began to take the flu vaccination more seriously. I sincerely empathize with parents who have concerns and fears about the flu shot, I can honestly say I was one of them. It isn’t until you see your child helpless in a hospital bed with breathing machines attached to their face that you realize that you have to do something to prevent this from happening ever again. That is when I became an advocate for the flu shot.

At a time when our healthcare system is already overwhelmed with the most severe cases of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important that we do what we can to avoid outbreaks of preventable, potentially deadly diseases like the flu. If you’re anything like me, you’re all about the facts and the statistics, so I wanted to take time to share with you just a few reasons why you should consider a flu shot this year. Along with a few helpful tips and resources, I wanted to do my best to help you make the best decisions
for yourself and your family regarding the flu shot.

A nurse prepares an injection of the influenza vaccine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston in 2013.

Below are just a few reasons you should consider a flu shot this year:

Last year in the U.S., there were an estimated 39 – 56 million cases of the flu, 18 – 26 million medical visits due to the flu, and approximately half a million flu hospitalizations. (Source) This pandemic can be
overwhelming and scary for parents. Getting your child a flu shot is one step you can take now, to protect them from a serious disease.
There were 952 (147 pediatric, 805 adult) flu-related hospitalizations reported for the 2019-20 flu season. (Source) This included six pediatric flu-related deaths in Michigan for 2019-20. (Source)
Nationally, 187 flu-related pediatric deaths were reported for the 2019-20 flu season. (Source)

We vaccinate our kids for a list of other things, and should protect them from the flu as well. It’s important to get a flu shot as soon as possible. I had no idea, but it takes up to two weeks after you get the flu shot for your body to build up enough immunity to prevent the flu. Once I heard this I
scheduled my flu shot appointment right away! A flu shot cannot cause the flu. You might be hesitant about getting the flu shot due to the stigma that
you can get the flu because of getting the shot. The flu vaccine does not have a live virus in it, so it is impossible to get the flu from the vaccine. Most people experience no side effects from the flu shot. The
most common side effects are soreness, redness, tenderness or swelling where the shot was given. Sometimes people may develop a low-grade fever, headache and muscle aches. These minor side
effects are not the flu — they are signs of your body developing the immunity it needs to fight off the flu. And the side effects are considerably less severe and are shorter lasting than the actual flu itself.

With the uptick in COVID-19 cases in the state of Michigan, it’s more important than ever for you to protect yourself and your family by getting a flu shot this year. Having lost several family members, friends, and loved ones this year to COVID-19, I believe now more than ever, people really need to stay on top of their immune health and take as many preventative
measures as possible to help protect their families against this deadly virus. The best thing to consider is that the flu vaccine is safe, effective, and can help protect everyone. It’s recommended that you receive
an annual flu shot, and amid COVID-19, getting a flu shot is more important than ever. We must continue to do our part to reduce the burden of influenza on the health care system with the uncertainty about COVID-19 cases and the potential resurgence of this disease. It is my hope that the
information provided will better equip you with the tools and information necessary to make the best decisions for your family. Stay safe, stay healthy, and most importantly, stay knowledgeable!


Kimberly M. Dobine

Be sure to check out the hashtag #IGotMIVax on all social media platforms for more information.

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Why I’m Getting The Flu Shot This Year

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