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That question can make anyone feel like they’re on the hot seat.
Spoiler: You’ll get asked one more time at Vivacity Care Center.
But guess what? We’re not waiting to call you out. Judgment is one service we don’t provide. We only ask because we believe that healthier communities start with honest conversations about your care. That includes talking frankly about flu shots and your role in community immunity—the role of hero!
The truth is that getting your flu shot is one of the single kindest acts you can perform this time of year. That’s because there’s an entire population of immunocompromised and otherwise vulnerable people in your community. These are people who have a high risk of getting seriously ill if they get the flu, and some of them can’t get vaccinated for health reasons.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), high-risk groups include infants and young children; pregnant women; adults age 65 years and older; and people with conditions that weaken their ability to fight illness, such as asthma, HIV/AIDS, and cancer.
For example, during the 2017–2018 flu season, roughly 40% of the population got vaccinated. By the CDC’s estimation, this prevented 7 million cases of the flu, 109,000 flu hospitalizations, and 8,000 deaths caused by the flu or its complications.
Yet because more people didn’t get vaccinated, that season still saw 49 million cases of the flu, 960,000 flu hospitalizations, and 79,000 deaths caused by the flu or its complications.
Imagine the life-saving potential of 90% or even 60% vaccination.
Ready to do your part for community immunity, but not sure where to get your flu shot? Luckily, you have two easy options: your primary care doctor’s office or your local pharmacy. (Sidenote: If you don’t have a primary care provider, we’d love to help once our first Care Center in North Spokane opens January 2.)
Before we continue, one thing to set straight: It’s impossible to get the flu from a flu shot. That’s confirmed by the CDC.
Now here are two more reasons you could be avoiding the flu shot:
Cost. If you feel that cost is prohibiting you from getting vaccinated, remember that all Washington residents under 18 receive their flu shot for free—regardless of whether they have insurance—and for Premera Blue Cross and LifeWise Health Plan of Washington members, your flu shot is typically covered, too.
Risk. Flu shots are recommended for everyone six months and older—especially those people at high risk for flu complications. That includes adults age 65 years and older, who may want to consider two flu vaccines designed specifically for their age group: the high dose vaccine and the adjuvanted vaccine.
Besides getting vaccinated, what else can you do to help protect yourself, your family, and your community from the flu?
Luckily, these are all things we probably know but just need to be reminded of occasionally:
Staying home can be a tough decision, but it’s one of the most effective ways to stop the spread of many illnesses. None of us wants credit for starting our school’s or office’s outbreak.
When you follow these simple steps and get vaccinated to support community immunity, you give everyone a fighting chance to beat the flu.
Keep doing good this flu season. We’re all in this together!
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