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It is Time to Get Your Flu Shot

Dr. Larry Antonucci's Blog Posts

Posted:

Oct. 6, 2021

It’s that time of year again – time to get your flu shot. Each year, Lee Health encourages our patients and community to get the flu vaccine because it is the best and most important step to prevent flu. Last year, cases of the flu were low thanks to social distancing, mask-wearing and increased handwashing. This year, with less adherence to those preventative measures, we are more likely to see increased incidences of the flu. And, as we continue fighting the spread of COVID-19 in our community, we want to do all we can to protect ourselves, our loved ones, our patients and others from the spread of the flu, too.

At Lee Health, we require our employees, medical staff, students, volunteers, contracted workers and vendors to participate in the Influenza Immunization and Prevention Policy by receiving a flu shot or an approved medical or religious exemption. We do this to offer the best possible option for flu prevention and to create community immunity or a wall of defense and protection against the virus throughout our organization.

While it is still possible to get sick even after vaccination, the flu shot helps reduce the severity of the illness. Because of this protection, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone 6 months of age and older receive the vaccine. Vaccination is particularly important for those who are at high risk of developing flu-related complications, including:

  • Adults age 65 years and older
  • Pregnant women
  • Residents in nursing homes or long-term care facilities
  • Children younger than 5, but especially younger than 2 years of age
  • People who have medical conditions, such as asthma, heart disease, chronic lung disease and weakened immune systems, among others

The flu is very contagious and can be transmitted to others beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to five to seven days after the illness begins. Remember, too, that it takes about two weeks after vaccination for the antibodies to develop in the body. The best time to get vaccinated against the flu is September or October, and the CDC says everyone should ideally be vaccinated by the end of October. There is no need to wait until November or December to ensure coverage through the end of flu season. Flu activity can increase at any time and likely will in the late fall, so it is better to be immunized earlier in the flu season.

If you have not yet been vaccinated for COVID-19, the CDC says it is safe to get both the COVID-19 and flu vaccines at or around the same time. Lee Health is not able to administer both shots at the same time, but we definitely encourage you to receive both vaccines.

Join us and get your flu shot! The more people in our community who get vaccinated, the greater the wall of defense. Talk to your health care provider if you have questions about seasonal flu, COVID-19 or the vaccines.

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