Is the Flu Shot Important?

Yes, 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.  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 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 recently stated that “Flu vaccination can reduce illness and prevent flu-related hospitalizations” and stressed that:

  • “Vaccination helps protect individuals from getting sick”;
  • “Vaccinated individuals who do get sick experience milder symptoms and fewer flu-related hospitalizations among adults”;
  • “Getting a flu shot during pregnancy has been shown to protect both the mother and her baby for several months after birth”; and
  • “Vaccination is particularly important for people who are at high risk of serious complications from flu,” such as children younger than 5 (especially those under 2), adults age 65 and older, pregnant women, and residents of long-term care facilities.

They also point out that being vaccinated yourself helps prevent you from transmitting the flu to someone who cannot be vaccinated for a medical reason (such as infants younger than 6 months and people with certain chronic conditions. 

In their press release, our colleagues at the Health Department shared a link to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention website for more information on the flu vaccine.  It explains more about “why should people get vaccinated against the flu” – including the point that “more people get vaccinated against the flu, less flu can spread through that community.”  It also helps explain how flu vaccines work and speaks to when individuals should get vaccinated.  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 do not have a Primary Care provider or need a Pediatrician for your child, call Janet in NMC’s Community Relations office at 524-1280 and she can help you connect with a provider.  Northwestern Urgent Care also provides flu vaccines on a walk-in basis for people age 3 and up.  Their St. Albans office in Cobblestone on the NMC campus is open 8am-8pm on Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm on Saturday, and 9am-3pm on Sunday.  It is easily accessible despite the construction on campus as the loop road is open and paved.  Northwestern Urgent Care’s Georgia Office, located on Route 7, just south of Interstate 89’s exit 18, is open 8am-7pm on Monday-Friday, and 8am-5pm on Saturday.  You can go to their website and check wait times and even reserve yourself a time for your vaccination using the Clockwise app.   In addition, Franklin County Home Health Agency hosts a series of public flu shot clinics spread throughout towns in our area throughout the month of October.  For a schedule of their clinics, visit their website and if you have questions about their clinics, call they invite you to call them at 527-7531. 

Prevention is such a valuable step in preserving good health and 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 – the time is now!

— Jill Berry Bowen, NMC’s Chief Executive Officer