It’s been a while since we have been on here, but we feel like we have an important and time sensitive
topic to be discussed… the dreaded flu season. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic underway, any
extra coverage our bodies can get to protect against vaccine-preventable diseases should be considered
vital and necessary. It is more important than ever for Michiganders to protect themselves and their
families by getting the flu shot this year! Last year in the U.S., there were an estimated 39 – 56 million
cases of the flu, 18 – 26 million medical visits due to the flu, and approximately half a million flu
hospitalizations(source). Despite common misconception, the flu is very serious. There were 952 (147 pediatric, 805 adult) flu-related hospitalizations reported for the 2019-20 flu season (source).
During the 2018-2019 flu season, flu vaccination prevented an estimated 4.4 million influenza illnesses
(more than the population of Los Angeles), 58,000 flu hospitalizations (just over the number of students
at Michigan State University) and 3,500 flu deaths (equal to saving about 10 lives per day over the
course of a year). With that being said, the sooner you get the flu shot, the better. It takes up to two
weeks after you get the flu shot for your body to build up enough immunity to prevent the flu, so
Michigan residents should get vaccinated now to protect themselves before flu activity increases in
Michigan. There is ample supply of the flu shot right now, making it readily available and accessible.
There is a common misconception that getting the flu shot may cause you to get the actual flu. This is
false! The flu vaccine does not actually have a live virus in it, so it is impossible to get the flu from the
vaccine. Most people experience no side effects from the flu shot. Those that do experience only minor
side effects. The most common side effects are soreness, redness, tenderness or swelling where the
shot was given. Sometimes people may develop a low-grade fever, headache or muscle aches. These
minor side effects are not the flu — they are signs of your body developing the immunity it needs to
fight off the flu!
There are many benefits to getting the flu shot. Flu vaccination among adults reduced the risk of being admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) with flu by 82 percent, during flu seasons from 2012 to 2015 (source). The flu vaccine is also shown to decrease risk of having to go to the doctor due to the flu by 40-60%. If you do get sick with the flu, the flu vaccine has been shown in several studies to reduce its severity. The flu shot can save lives, protect children, the elderly and pregnant women. The flu vaccine has even 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 (source).
Amal and I choose to get the flu shot every year and our family members get it as well. Working in the
medical field as Internal Medicine PAs, we are especially exposed to the flu and personally see the
benefits of getting the vaccine. We always get it early to make sure that we have immunity before the
influenza storm hits and feel the importance of it now more than ever amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vaccines are safe, important, and help everyone. You can get more information from The Michigan
Department of Health and Human Services here. Please let us know if you have any questions and get
your flu shot!
Lora & Amal