Opinion | Everyone should get their flu shot

This year, with COVID-19 looming over everyone, it is especially important to get your flu vaccination.


Katie Goodale

Photo Illustration by Katie Goodale

Yassie Buchanan, Opinions Columnist

When flu season comes around every year, the same uncertain dialogue circulates on the idea of getting a flu shot. People often make excuses like, “I don’t want to get sick” or “I’ve never gotten one before and I haven’t had the flu,” but now more than ever there should be an increased sense of urgency to get your flu shot.

There are many misconceptions about the flu vaccine that have circulated throughout the years, but there is little valid evidence to back any of them. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, not only is the flu vaccine essential in prevention of the spread of the illness, it also reduces the risk of having severe symptoms if you do contract it.

With the coronavirus looming over the world and flu season quickly approaching, there is no telling how the two could coincide, which is why it is so important to make sure we are all getting vaccinated.

According to an article in Science Magazine, doctors are concerned about the possible pile-up of respiratory cases due to the coupled effects of COVID-19 and the flu. Additionally, there is not a lot of information to reference about how these two illnesses work in conjunction with each other.

ABC News stated in an article that it is highly probable that contracting both the flu and the coronavirus at the same time would be more dangerous than contracting just one or the other. This creates an especially high risk for the elderly population.

It is important to make sure you are getting the flu vaccine for not only your own health, but also to minimize the possibility of vulnerable populations contracting both illnesses at the same time.

Statistics from ABC News show that less than half of the adult population in the U.S. was vaccinated for the flu in the 2019-20 flu season. This resulted in around 38 million cases of the flu, 400,000 of which resulted in hospitalization.

We are already in a pandemic, which means hospitals are already dealing with the possibility of being overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients — there is no need to add to that stress and further limit availability of resources at these hospitals.

There are resources on the University of Iowa campus and in the Iowa City community for the flu shot.

Student Health is providing free flu vaccinations which are available for students on October 29th and Nov. 3 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the River Room in the IMU. In order to receive the vaccination, you will need to have your student ID. Additionally, student health has the flu shot available for $59, which can be covered by insurance or placed on a student U-Bill if you’re unable to make it on either of the two aforementioned days.

Outside of the university, pharmacies like Walgreens and CVS offer flu vaccinations usually linked to a patient’s insurance.

The CDC states that it is best to get your flu vaccine sooner rather than later because it takes about two weeks for the vaccination to be effective in your body. Because of this two-week period in between getting the vaccination and its effectiveness, it is also recommended that people are vaccinated before the end of October to prepare for the possible spread of the flu.

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.