Our Parish Nurse, Ann Yeo, reminds us that influenza vaccination (usually in the form of “flu shots,” or for some age groups in the form of a nasal spray) is now available at drugstores and medical offices. How important is it to get it this year? Don’t we have more urgent issues to worry about – e.g., COVID-19 and all its ramifications in our lives?

First, if you, or family members in your household, are currently under treatment for serious medical problems, you should ask your medical provider for specific advice. (But reasons not to be immunized against influenza are rare.)

Second, if your family members include children (6 months to 18 years), you also should ask your medical provider for specific advice. Likewise, if anyone is pregnant. (Again, reasons not to be immunized are rare.)

Otherwise, yes, medical and public health experts are urging widespread influenza vaccination soon (by early October), to help us avoid overwhelming our health-care system with people sick from flu as well as people sick from COVID-19.

There’s a timely, informative article from the University of California at San Francisco on this subject. It lays out the medical and public health perspective, and it also addresses common concerns that you may have. You can read the article here.

Even if you usually opt NOT to get a flu shot, you may want to consider it during this extraordinary time of the pandemic.

-Ann Yeo, RN, MSN, Certified Holistic Nurse