Millions of people across the globe get flu shots each year. Flu shots protect people against influenza, but they might provide even greater benefits in 2020.
As the world continues to confront the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, it’s imperative that people everywhere take every step necessary to protect themselves and others. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that a flu vaccine will not protect people against COVID-19. However, flu vaccines have been shown to reduce the risk of illness related to the flu. Those illnesses weaken people’s immune systems, making them more vulnerable to other viruses, including COVID-19.
Flu vaccines have also been shown to reduce the risk of hospitalization. That’s a significant benefit of being vaccinated, as people who get their flu shots can indirectly help hospitals conserve potentially scarce resources. As the COVID-19 virus rapidly spread late in the winter of 2019-20, many hospitals across the country and even the globe were stretched incredibly thin. So anything ordinary citizens can do to alleviate such burdens can help save lives while also making hospital workers’ jobs easier and less stressful.
Many people may be concerned about going out and getting a flu shot in 2020. That’s especially likely for people who live in communities where the COVID-19 virus is spreading. However, the CDC notes that getting a flu shot in 2020 is an essential part of protecting your health and the health of your family. Many doctor’s offices are now insisting patients wait in their cars until doctors are ready to see them, and masks may be required when entering the doctor’s office. Such measures can reduce the risk of getting the COVID-19 virus when visiting a doctor’s office for a flu shot or another visit, so patients should not be hesitant to receive their vaccinations in 2020. Patients can follow such protocols even if their doctors are not insisting they do so. The same safety measures can be followed by people who intend to get their flu shots from neighborhood pharmacies.
Flu shots are vital to individual and public health every year, but the importance of being vaccinated against influenza in 2020 is heightened as the world continues to confront the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus.