Opinion: The importance of this year’s flu shot


Graphic by Sarah Carlon

Josephine Tran-Vong, Contributing Writer

It’s that time of the year when CVS starts advertising their $5 off coupons to bribe you to get your flu shot. I can almost hear the public health majors saying, “Get the flu shot before the flu gets you!”

What makes getting your flu shot this year even more important than any other year?

With COVID-19 still lurking, there are many different opinions on whether or not people should be getting flu shots. The anti-vaccination rhetoric that the flu shot will give you the flu still persists, and will unfortunately persuade many not to get their flu shot. (Yes, the vaccine is the virus. However, the vaccine is “attenuated,” meaning it is disabled, so it is highly unlikely that it will cause disease.)

At the hospital I work at, the policy is that if you don’t get your flu shot, you have to wear a mask. Well, I have to wear a mask anyway, don’t I? So what’s the incentive to get vaccinated?

The current pandemic is even more reason to get vaccinated. Getting vaccinated means less chance of getting the flu virus, which frees up potentially scarce hospital resources that can be used to care for those with life threatening diagnoses, like COVID-19.

There is no evidence that getting the flu vaccine puts you at risk for contracting COVID-19, but there are studies and hypotheses that getting a live, attenuated vaccine protects you not only from the targeted disease, but from other diseases and pathogens, including those that cause respiratory infections. 

Getting the flu vaccine does not ensure your safety from other viruses. You should still socially distance, wash your hands, and wear a mask. However, your immune system will be stronger when it only has one virus to worry about. Find where you can get vaccinated here.