National Immunization Awareness Month is celebrated throughout August as children prepare to return to school. With COVID-19 cases still rising, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services emphasizes the importance of vaccines in our daily lives.
With flu shots and other vaccines keeping various serious but preventable diseases at bay, the focus of medical staff can remain on COVID-19 patients.
“Vaccinating on time and following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommended schedule is the best protection against serious diseases like measles, hepatitis A, whooping cough, cancers caused by HPV, and influenza,” said Dr, Joneigh Khaldun, Chief Medical Executive and deputy for health at MDHHS.
To encourage students to get their flu shots, Grand Valley State University hosts annual flu shot clinics. Students are able to get their vaccinations through the Campus Health Center. Though it used to be a walk-in event, students are now required to call ahead for an appointment.
The vaccine offered by GVSU is the quadrivalent flu vaccine. It offers protection against four different strains of the virus: two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses.
According to the CDC’s website, the flu vaccine prevents thousands of flu-related hospitalizations every year. For example, during 2018-2019, flu vaccination prevented an estimated 58,000 flu-related hospitalizations, according to their website.
A 2018 study done in New Zealand showed that among adult flu patients who had been vaccinated, nearly 60% were less likely to be admitted into the ICU. Of the patients who ended up in the ICU, vaccinated patients were spent, on average, about four days less than unvaccinated patients.
Not only does being vaccinated protect you, but it protects others around you. Not everyone can handle being vaccinated and they rely on others to keep them safe from these deadly diseases.
Only about 50% of Americans get the flu shot annually. Due to this lack of vaccinations, the flu continues to claim the lives of tens of thousands of people while inflicting illness upon millions of others.