The Flu Vaccine: More Important than Ever

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Anthony Abrahantes

As Americans experience the change in weather and leaves, a new season is among us: the flu season. With COVID-19 still, a big problem, it is important to get the Flu vaccine.

Audrey Lezcano, Staff Writer

As the leaves begin to turn, we reach the season that so many dread: flu season. This season comes every fall and winter in the United States and brings a spike in the cases of influenza. The dangers Americans face this year are even more heightened as we are already dealing with an ongoing pandemic that does not seem to be getting much better. Unlike COVID-19, there is a vaccine for the flu that is effective in preventing it. Therefore, it is essential to get this flu vaccine to avoid making a bad situation in our hospitals and communities even worse.

With the cases of COVID-19 being so high and a spike in the flu soon to come, determining whether your symptoms resemble those of either virus may be difficult as those who choose to not get the flu vaccine will be susceptible to contracting both. From many experts, they’ve determined that the flu and COVID-19 are similar in many ways but do have a few key differences. Some symptoms the viruses have incommon include fever, cough, sore throat and fatigue. However, the times at which these symptoms begin to display are different. In the flu, symptoms become apparent shortly after exposure but COVID-19 can take up to 14 days after exposure to display symptoms and sometimes those infected are asymptomatic. We do know COVID-19 affects the lungs, but we are not sure exactly in what way. The effects of this new virus remain unknown as we are quite ignorant of the virus’ immediate and long term effects.With the current handling of this pandemic in the United States, we simply cannot afford to have two viruses infecting millions at such a fast rate.

Unfortunately, with such a serious virus growing at a rampant scale, it seems that throughout the pandemic, President Donald Trump has seemed to undermine the dangers of this virus even after contracting it himself. Although the president claims there will be a COVID-19 vaccine soon, there really has not been a great deal of evidence that a safe vaccine will be produced in the near future. So, by the looks of it, the vaccine will most likely be ready for public use after the flu season. Luckily, the flu does have a vaccine that helps lessen one’s chances of getting it; this year it is even more essential that people take it. Those that are able to must get this vaccine as it is our only hope in preventing the catastrophic effects of a spike in two dangerous viruses at the same time.

We do not have a cure for the Coronavirus and I do not think we have a cure for the flu. But there are certainly more reliable ways to help with the flu. I do think for the majority of people it [the flu vaccine] does prevent them from getting the flu,”

— junior Stephanie Andrade

 

Due to the pandemic, hospitals are flooded with patients with COVID-19, experiencing a shortage of hospital beds, staff and essential medical supplies. Since we cannot prevent COVID-19, it would be easier for people to get the flu vaccine to reduce the number of flu patients. One out of every five patients that are diagnosed with COVID-19 are hospitalized and as that was not bad enough, hospitals will have to deal with both Coronavirus and Influenza, two highly contagious viruses. It is estimated that in one year over 200,000 people in the United States are hospitalized due to the flu. Some flu patients might develop pneumonia, inflammation of vital organs or have a multi-organ failure requiring them to seek immediate medical assistance. More minor complications include sinus/ear infection, fever, fatigue and chills. It is best to get the flu vaccine and lower the risk of contracting the virus which can lead to these serious complications. Regardless of whether it’s the flu or COVID-19, it is essential that these patients receive the medical treatment they need in order to survive and improve. If healthcare providers are too overwhelmed with patients, giving enough attention to those infected would be difficult. However, if people get the flu vaccine, the number of people who contract the illness will be decreased. The flu vaccine has been estimated to be successful in preventing the flu 40 percent of the time. Although it may not be perfect, it still greatly reduces the chances of getting the virus.

“I strongly believe that the flu vaccine is safe, under the circumstances that you are eligible to take the vaccine. I do believe the vaccine successfully prevents people from getting the flu. Studies show that the flu vaccine can reduce the risk of the flu,” junior Milla Faraldo said.

Not only is getting the flu shot important for the health of the community but it is also essential to protect individuals. The flu shot has many health benefits that make getting it worthwhile. Firstly, the flu shot helps in the prevention of getting the virus and is proven to decrease the number of influenza related deaths in children. The debate on the safety of vaccines has been controversial for many years. Particularly the debate between anti-vaccine and pro-vaccine has caused the distribution of this vaccine to be much more difficult. People that are anti-vaccine do not believe in giving their children vaccines or even getting them themselves. This debate led some to believe that getting the flu vaccine is not safe and may higher the chances of them getting the virus. However, this is far from true. Studies have shown that the flu vaccine is safe and readily available. You are more likely to get the flu by not taking the vaccine than if you do take the vaccine. So, when you don’t take the vaccine you risk contracting the virus and its severe complications.

The community needs people to get this vaccine in order to avoid a spike in flu cases alongside the pandemic. With the ongoing pandemic, this vaccine is more important than ever. One shot is worth being able to save your life and the lives of those around you.