Illinois Aging Network Alert
August 3, 2020
ISSUE: Importance of Flu Vaccine – Reduce Hospitalizations
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), flu season is from October to April. As flu season approaches flu vaccine manufacturers are boosting production. The CDC has ordered 14 times the doses it typically purchases. Getting a flu shot doesn’t protect against coronavirus but even a moderately effective flu vaccine can mitigate the severe symptoms and potentially reduce hospitalizations. Fewer than half of Americans get a flu shot even though a vaccine is recommended for everyone over 6 months old.
Older Adults can face severe complications from the flu. The human immune defense weakens as we age. Flu is much more serious for older adults and it is very important that they get a flu shot. According to the CDC, an estimated 70%-85% of seasonal flu-related deaths have occurred in people 65 years and older, and between 50%-70% of seasonal flu-related hospitalizations have occurred among people in this age group. People with chronic illnesses can also face serious complications from the flu. As coronavirus cases continue to rise there is a deep concern that older adults will not venture out to get their flu shots. Not only is this a concern for the older adult, but fewer flu cases can reduce the need for hospital space that is needed to combat COVID19.
Getting a flu shot is the responsible thing to do and can help reduce the transmission to other not just an older relative but others a person may encounter in the community. This year the flu vaccine is even more critical and can help our state get through the fall and combat the need for more hospital space.
As a leader we ask that the state help raise awareness and assist our already struggling health departments get the message out to get a flu shot!