NMC Commentary

Are Flu Shots Important?

Yes, an annual flu shots helps prevent you from getting sick.  Equally importantly, it can help prevent you from spreading the flu to someone for whom the flu might be more dangerous – such as infants, the elderly, and people with chronic conditions.

NMC believes so strongly in this that every year we host our own internal effort to have as close to 100% of our staff as possible vaccinated against the flu. For the majority of us, getting an annual flu shot is an important step in preserving good health for ourselves, our families and our co-workers. It is far better to prevent getting sick in the first place and it helps prevent us from making others sick.  For our community, that means our team will be more likely to be healthy and here to care for you and your loved ones rather than being sick in bed at home!

The Vermont Department of Health recommends flu shots for individuals “age 6 months and older” as well as those “at high risk of complications from the flu, or if you are in contact with someone who is at high risk.”  Those at high risk include: “pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, all adults 50 years of age and older, healthcare workers, and people with a compromised immune system. The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website is an excellent resource for more information on the flu vaccine: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/keyfacts.htm .  The CDC says, “While seasonal influenza outbreaks can happen as early as October, during most seasons influenza activity peaks in January or later. Since it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body that protect against influenza virus infection, it is best that people get vaccinated so they are protected before influenza begins spreading in their community.”

There are many opportunities to receive a flu shot here in our community.  Your Primary Care provider or your child’s Pediatrician can give this important vaccination. Please check with them in advance for availability. If you need help finding a Primary Care provider or a Pediatrician for your child, call Erin in NMC’s Community Relations office at 524-1280.  Northwestern Urgent Care also provides flu vaccines on a walk-in basis for people age 3 and up.  Their two locations (in St. Albans on the hospital campus and in Georgia on Route 7) are both open 8am-8pm on Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm on Saturday, and 9am-3pm on Sunday.  You can go to their website and check wait times and even reserve yourself a time for your vaccination using the Clockwise app at: www.northwesternurgentcare.com

Prevention is such a valuable step in preserving good health. An annual flu shot is an easy way to help keep yourself, your family, and your co-workers in better health.  Please join me in getting a flu shot this season!

— Jill Berry Bowen, NMC’s Chief Executive Officer