Editorial: It’s time to get your flu shots

Published 8:20 pm Wednesday, October 3, 2018

As the fall brings increasingly colder weather, the time for flu shots is upon us. But how important is it to get vaccinated for the flu?

Over 5,000 deaths due to flu were recorded in the Center for Disease Control’s 2015 report and it has been estimated by the U.S. government that 80,000 Americans died of the flu or its complications last year. In 2017, less than half of people 64 years or younger got their flu vaccination compared to nearly 68 percent of those 65 and older. Statistically, the numbers show the relationship between vaccinations and the flu.

But still, many do not get vaccinated. Arguments range from “I don’t like needles” to “I never get sick.” The issue may not be whether it will prevent you from getting the flu, but rather those who you could endanger by not getting vaccinated. Babies who are too young to get immunized and those that have compromised immune systems are counting on those around them not to help the spread of the virus.

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Many others don’t like the idea of getting a yearly shot that may not prevent all types of the virus. But the idea of a one-time flu vaccination to protect you is several years away.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends annual flu vaccination for everyone over the age of 6 months. It is especially important for people who meet the following criteria:

• Young children under 5, especially those under 2 years

• Pregnant women

• People 65 or older

• People who live with or care for others at high risk of developing serious complications, including caregivers of people with chronic medical conditions.

Freeborn County Public Health has several flu shot clinics scheduled this month. People should bring their Medicare card, Medicare Advantage plan card or medical assistance card. Cost for all others is $35. People ages 3 and older can receive the shots there.

• 9 to 10 a.m. Oct. 15, Shady Oaks,

• 2 to 3 p.m. Oct. 15, Hayward Community Center

• 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Oct. 16, Emmons Senior Center

• 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Oct. 16, Senior Tower

• 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 17, Skyline Plaza

• 9 to 10 a.m. Oct. 18, Senior Court

• 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Oct. 18, Alden City Hall/Community Center

• 9 to 10 a.m. Oct. 19, Freeborn Fire Hall/Community Hall

• 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Oct. 22, Hollandale/Riceland Government Center

• 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Oct. 30, Glenville Senior Citizens Center

Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea offers several other flu vaccine clinics the following times:

• 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday

• 5 to 7 p.m. Oct. 11

• 9 a.m. to noon Oct. 13

• 9 a.m. to noon Oct. 27

Vaccines are available at Express Care in Hy-Vee, with no appointment necessary, for 12 and older.

When contemplating whether to get vaccinated, remember how many people, including yourself that the shot can help.