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4 reasons to get the flu vaccine this year

4 reasons to get the flu vaccine this year

While the COVID-19 virus remains at the forefront of a worldwide pandemic, it's likely the flu virus will also be spreading this fall and winter. The flu is a potentially serious disease that can also lead to hospitalizations and sometimes even death. Healthcare systems could be overwhelmed treating flu patients AND COVID-19 patients. This means getting a flu vaccine during 2020-2021 is more important than ever.

While getting a flu shot will not protect against COVID-19, there are several important reasons to get the flu shot this year.

1. It may keep you out of the doctor's office

Flu shots prevent millions of illnesses and flu-related doctor’s visits each year. According to the CDC, during 2018-2019, flu vaccination prevented an estimated 4.4 million influenza illnesses, 2.3 million influenza-associated medical visits, 58,000 influenza-associated hospitalizations, and 3,500 influenza-associated deaths.

2. Protects you and others

Getting vaccinated yourself may also protect people around you, including those who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness, like babies and young children, older people, and people with certain chronic health conditions.

Pregnant women who get a flu shot also are helping to protect their babies from flu illness for the first several months after their birth, when they are too young to get vaccinated.

3. Reduces risk of hospitalizations

Flu vaccination can reduce the risk of flu-associated hospitalizations, especially for those who are at high risk for flu complications like young children, those with chronic conditions like heart disease, asthma or diabetes, and adults 65 or older. Complications can include pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus and ear infections and worsening of chronic conditions.

4. Illness is less severe

Flu vaccination has been shown in several studies to reduce severity of illness in people who get vaccinated but still get sick. A 2018 study showed that among adults hospitalized with flu, vaccinated patients were 59 percent less likely to be admitted to the ICU than those who had not been vaccinated. Among adults in the ICU with flu, vaccinated patients on average spent 4 fewer days in the hospital than those who were not vaccinated.

Despite the many benefits offered by flu vaccination, only about half of Americans get an annual flu vaccine and flu continues to cause millions of illnesses, hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations and tens of thousands of deaths. Many more people could be protected from flu if more people got vaccinated.

This year, protect yourself, your family and your community by getting the flu shot. To find out more about getting the flu shot, speak to your health care provider or visit

For more articles about this year's flu season, please visit our Flu Season blog.

Content source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,