It’s not too late to get your flu shot and here’s why you still should


Sara Getman, Contributing Writer

The focus on getting vaccinated against COVID-19 has distracted us from another important shot: the flu vaccine. 

COVID-19 has rampaged across the U.S. causing surge after surge and hundreds of thousands of deaths. It can be easy to forget that the flu can also make you very sick. 

The flu, like COVID-19, is highly contagious and deadly. Now more than ever, it’s important to get vaccinated against influenza to protect you and your community. 

Last year, the U.S. saw a record low number of flu cases, only 0.6%. This is mostly due to mask wearing, social distancing and remote learning and working. The years prior to the pandemic, positive influenza cases ranged between 26.2% to 30%

With states lifting mask mandates, kids back in school and people heading back to the office, it’s very likely that influenza will come back with a vengeance during the 2021-2022 season. 

While many view the flu as an annoyance and having to miss work, in the 2018-2019 season, it hospitalized approximately 490,000 people. In the 2019-2020 season, approximately 400,000 people were hospitalized. 

As scientists and doctors are expecting another surge of COVID-19 cases this winter due to the Delta variant, it’s more important than ever to keep yourself safe and out of our already overcrowded hospitals

Staying out of the hospital is just as important as getting vaccinated: a flu vaccine is shown to decrease the risk of having to go to the doctor to treat influenza by 40% to 60%

You also run the risk of having the flu and COVID-19 at the same time, which will cause more serious illnesses due to your already weakened immune system, reports NPR. 

COVID-19 and the flu share many common symptoms, including fever, fatigue, sore throat, muscle aches, and cough.

Similar to the COVID-19 vaccine, getting a flu vaccine is accessible and cheap. The flu vaccine is often covered by insurance or offered for free by pharmacies, colleges and workplaces. If you don’t have insurance, expect to pay between $20-$70 for a flu vaccine. Comparatively, an inpatient stay at a hospital in Massachusetts costs at least $3,200. Not only will getting a flu vaccine keep you healthy, it’ll also save you a ton of money. 

Director of the Simmons Health Center, Marybeth Davis, did not respond to the Voice’s request for comment on the necessity of flu vaccines. 

Here are some easily accessible places to get your flu vaccine that accept most insurances or offer the vaccine for free: