To the editor,
We hear many reasons why people choose not to get the flu shot for themselves or their families. We get it — shots can be unpleasant and we’re all busy — but it’s critically important that every person who is 6 months old and older who can get the flu shot does get the flu shot.
Here’s why: While children under 2 years old, adults over 65 years old and those with weakened immune systems are at the greatest risk of severe illness and death from the flu, we are all at risk. During the 2017-18 flu season, 186 U.S. children died. More than 80% had not received a flu shot that season.
Receiving the flu shot is the most effective way to prevent the flu in yourself and in those you love. The shot cannot give you the flu (that’s a myth), and thinking you can skip it because you “never get the flu” is like playing Russian roulette — odds are you’re eventually going to lose.
Even if you don’t think you need protection from the flu, you have a responsibility to protect those around you. How would you live with the knowledge that you gave the virus to your grandchild or an elderly friend?
The decision you make can have a lasting impact on those around you. By getting the flu shot, you’ll be doing everything you can to protect yourself, your loved ones and your community against this preventable disease.
Dr. Dorothy Sinard, FAAP
Dr. Barbara Dentz, FAAP Members, ImmunizeTN