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10 Reasons Why Getting a Flu Shot is Vitally Important – Now More than Ever

Partners Chief Clinical Officer Gregg Meyer, MD weighs in on why everyone system-wide needs to get a flu shot.

  1. Flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat and sometimes the lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent flu and its potentially serious complications is by getting a flu vaccine each year. It prevents millions of flu illnesses and related doctors’ visits and hospitalizations.
  2. Flu vaccinations are more important than ever this year as we continue to deal with the pandemic of COVID-19. Flu vaccine can help us avoid putting additional strains on the medical system with preventable illness at a time when we need to maintain our capacity for dealing with a disease for which there is not yet a means to prevent it.
  3. If we face another increase in COVID-19 cases in our region, it will be imperative that our workforce is as healthy as possible to meet the needs of our community. Flu vaccination is one important means to help keep our workforce strong and ready – whatever comes our way.
  4. During the 2019-2020 influenza season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that there were between 24,000-62,000 flu deaths in the United States.
  5. You can spread influenza to others even before you yourself have any symptoms. As a result, the notion that you can simply stay at home and away from others is not adequate. You could have already spread the flu to patients, colleagues and your family.
  6. Getting vaccinated helps protect your whole community from the virus. This is especially important because while healthy young adults probably won’t die from an ordinary strain of flu, the virus can kill older people, young children and others whose immune systems may not be equipped to fight it off. You can help protect the most vulnerable groups by getting vaccinated yourself.
  7. The flu can cause you or your loved ones to be hospitalized. Overall hospitalization rates of all ages in the U.S. during 2019-2020 were estimated by the CDC at 410,000-740,000.
  8. Even if you do not visit hospital and clinic sites, you may expose others who do and thus transmit flu to patients.
  9. There are many special things that come with working in a health care organization, but there are responsibilities that come with it as well. One responsibility is to take an active role in preventing illness and getting a flu vaccination is one important step we can all take.
  10. It’s mandatory. For all the reason above, it is a requirement that all Mass General Brigham employees get vaccinated.

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