This post was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Let me share a secret. I don’t like needles.
I don’t know what happened when I was little, but I’ve grown up being terrified of getting shots.
This is such an interesting development since I spent 18 years in the military. In the military, you get a flu shot every single year. You actually don’t have much of a choice.
So, each year, I reluctantly did my duty by getting my flu shot. What I also realized was, as a wife and mom, I was protecting my immediate and extended family by doing this.
Everyone ages 6 months and older needs a flu vaccine.
Flu vaccination is the single best way to protect yourself from flu. It also stops the spread of the flu to your family and your community.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that the flu can be dangerous for people at any age, but some people are at high risk of developing serious flu-related complications if they get sick. This includes:
- Children younger than 5 years,
- Pregnant women,
- People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, neurologic disorders, and weakened immune systems
- People 65 years and older
When each of my children was babies, I knew that getting that (sometimes uncomfortable) flu shot was truly important to keep our whole family healthy and safe during the flu season.
This year, getting our flu shots is more important than ever. We have family members with underlying medical conditions, and a few are at or over 65 years old. The flu vaccine is essential in 2020, because of the other virus we’re all battling — COVID-19.
This flu season is unlike any other since we may have both COVID-19 and flu viruses circulating. Now more than ever, everyone needs to do their part to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses, like flu and COVID-19.
Getting your flu vaccine is an easy way that you can help flatten the curve of flu illnesses, save medical resources, and protect essential workers from flu.
Here we are. We have access to a flu vaccine, and as an African American, I know how key it is to get it because of the health disparities in Black and Hispanic communities.
Among adults, less than half (48.4%) received an annual flu vaccine during the 2019-2020 flu season. Flu vaccination rates among Black (41.2%) and Hispanic (38.3%) adults are about 10 percentage points lower compared to White (52.8%) adults. African American women also report lower flu vaccination rates (38%) during pregnancy compared to White women (53%).
I have to admit, I know quite a few family members who refuse to get a flu shot each year because of the negative views of vaccines in the African American community.
This year has to be different. The flu vaccine has the ability to save our lives in a different way in 2020/2021.
During my interview with US Surgeon General Jerome Adams, we talked about why there are so many myths about the flu vaccine within the Black community, and how we can dispel those this year.
Click below to watch this quick interview: