Flu Vaccines are Especially Important This Year

October 23, 2020

This year’s influenza season will look quite different compared to years past, and as it approaches in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s more important than ever to be proactive in protecting yourself and others from preventable illness.

On Friday, Oct. 23, the New York Times reported that hospitalizations for COVID-19 cases were up 40% over the previous month. A second wave of coronavirus infections appear to be coming just as we enter the annual flu season. This is why Kline Galland has required all staff to get a flu vaccination this year. (Any requests for exemption due to medical or religious reasons must be submitted to Human Resources.)

Every year around this time we encourage staff and residents to get vaccinated against the seasonal flu. The CDC notes, “Vaccination is important for health care workers and other people who live with or care for people at higher risk to keep from spreading flu to them. This is especially true for people who work in long-term care facilities.”

But this year, the presence of COVID-19 makes getting a flu vaccine even more critical for all of us. That’s because the flu virus sends hundreds of thousands of people to the hospital every flu season. Unfortunately, with this fall’s upswing in COVID-19-related hospitalizations, public health officials fear a “twindemic” that could put even more strain on hospitals and other healthcare providers than they experienced in the first COVID-19 wave earlier this year.

How to prevent flu

Everyone is susceptible to getting the flu. Particularly for people over age 65 and those with long-term medical conditions, the flu can be a serious illness. According to the CDC, people with diabetes, asthma, and chronic heart disease are at high risk of developing serious flu complications.

The CDC recommends three actions we can take to fight the flu:

  1. Get a flu vaccine. There are exceptions for people who have vaccine-related allergies.
  2. Practice everyday preventive actions. The presence of COVID-19 has trained us well in this area. Keep wearing a mask, face shield, social distancing and washing your hands – these actions will protect you against both diseases. Avoid people who are sick, avoid touching your face, and disinfect frequently touched surfaces. If you are sick please stay home. All of these precautions save us from serious illness or worse.
  3. If you do get the flu, take the antiviral medication if your doctor prescribes it. Antivirals may be prescribed for people who are very sick with flu or who are at high risk of developing serious flu complications. It’s important to take the medicine as instructed by the doctor.

At Kline Galland, we’re committed to protecting our residents, our staff, our families and our communities during this unprecedented time. Thank you for rising to the challenge!