Importance of the 2020 Flu Shot

The fear of overcapacity looms over hospitals this fall.

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Kaitlyn Quezada

Some see the falling leaves and cool breeze as a sign of hope and relaxation, filled with sweaters and reading by a cozy fire, but hospital workers face a more grim reality. For the medical staff at local hospitals across the nation, fall means foreboding and fear of flu season. 

If you are normally the person that finds satisfaction in telling everyone that you “never get the flu shot” or boast of your inability to get sick in the winter, you might want to think again this year. If there’s one thing that 2020 has shown time and time again, it is that health professionals should be listened to and obeyed, no matter what age or health condition you are in. 

Many question why there is such a large stigma and fear around 2020’s flu season. Aren’t we all wearing masks anyway? Isn’t this year going to be better due to increased awareness of public health? The short answer is that it’s not that simple. While masks are now customary in almost all establishments, there is still the fear of influenza circulation between family and friends. And the panic is not over fatality rates of the elderly, like it normally is come flu season, but of overcapacity in hospitals.

COVID-19 has put a major strain on hospitals and emergency rooms since March, and the rates have not yet improved. Most hospitals are working overtime and at near-capacity, and flu season threatens to push the system over the limit. During an aggressive flu season, about 800,000 people will be hospitalized nationwide. If such a case were to occur this year, the results would be catastrophic for the medical system.

If you’re thinking “please, someone give me some good news,” then today is your lucky day, because, unlike COVID-19, the world has a vaccine for influenza! Everyone can do their part to control the floodgates of the hospital entrance, and it’s simple! Just get your flu shot! 

College students are not immune to the flu, and the virus spreads the most among youth, so it is imperative that all students have their shot. Student Health Services will soon start offering flu shots to students and faculty, so the SLU community will have easy and quick access. 

So, to help protect your friends, family and the sanity of hospital workers, please sign up to receive your flu shot sooner rather than later.