Flu Shot: How It Started vs. How It’s Going

Sponsored by The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

Do you have any regrets in life? You don’t have to answer that specifically. I know for me, there are many things that I wish I could change about life, but not necessarily regrets. As I shared a few months ago, I received my first flu shot and wish I would have gotten it sooner.

Now if I’m honest, I never got my flu shot for two reasons: (1) fear of needles and (2) fear of the virus being injected in me. However, after sharing my fears with my doctor, she debunked those myths and eased my anxiety around the flu shot. So I would like to share more about how this started vs. how it is going in hopes to spread more awareness about the flu vaccine. 

As many of us know there is a new vaccine out to protect against the coronavirus and it has so many people on edge (for good reason, of course).  But the flu shot has opened my mind to better understand how vaccines work and why it is important to ask the right questions to medical professionals. 

Following my own research and asking my family doctor questions, I found out a few things about the flu and how the shot can save lives (especially our little ones):

  • Despite common misconceptions, the flu is very serious. There were 952 (147 pediatric, 805 adult) flu-related hospitalizations reported for the 2019-20 flu season.
  • Flu vaccination can keep you and your loved ones from getting sick with flu. An estimated 4.4 million influenza illnesses were prevented during the 2018-2019 flu season.
  • A flu shot cannot cause the flu. The flu vaccine does not have a live virus in it, so it is impossible to get the flu from the vaccine.
  • Flu vaccination helps prevent the flu in people with chronic health conditions. Vaccination has been associated with lower rates of some cardiac events among people with heart disease, especially among those who had had a cardiac event in the past year.

From the moment I made the decision to get the flu shot this flu season, I knew that I was not just doing it for myself, but for my family and community. I’d like to share that for the first time in my life, I did not get the flu or even the common cold! Listening to the misinformation about the flu vaccine, I thought that I would at minimum get a severe cold this year, but thankfully, I didn’t. I think it goes without saying that I will be adding the flu shot to my annual health and safety to-do list. 

Damarqio and his family in Midtown Detroit.
Photo: Jimmy Johnson

I’m so grateful to live in Michigan, a state that is taking both the flu season and COVID-19 pandemic so seriously. I realize the importance of the flu vaccination is to combat the deadly virus and I vow to get my flu shot every year.  I was also excited to hear of free flu shot sites across Michigan and many insurance providers cover the costs of the flu shot. Can’t wait for you and your family to get protected like mine. GO GET YOUR FLU SHOT TODAY! You can get more information from The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services here.

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