It is likely that flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will both be spreading this fall and winter, making it more important than ever that all healthcare workers get a flu vaccine. Immunizations assist in protecting individuals and communities from vaccine-preventable diseases and outbreaks and reducing the burden of respiratory illness during the upcoming influenza season. Getting an annual flu vaccine is the first and best way to protect yourself and your family from the flu. Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctor’s visits, and missed work and school, as well as prevent flu related hospitalizations.
New Things for the 2020-2021 Season:
- CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months or age and older with any licensed, influenza vaccine that is appropriate for the recipient’s age and health status, with no preference expressed for any one vaccine over another.
- Flu vaccines have been updated to better match circulating viruses.
- Individuals with confirmed COVID-19 or who are quarantined due to a COVID-19 exposure should avoid receiving the flu vaccination until fully recovered and/or quarantine has ended.
When should you get vaccinated:
- You should get a flu vaccine before flu begins spreading in your community. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body that protect against flu.
- CDC (Center for Disease Control) recommends that people get a flu vaccine by the end of October.
Information for Healthcare Professionals:
- CDC, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), and the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC) recommend that all US healthcare workers get vaccinated annually against influenza.
- The findings of a recent CDC review of related published literature indicate that influenza vaccination of healthcare personnel can enhance patient safety.
- Some employers require certain immunizations. Hospitals, for example, may require some staff to get the flu vaccine or take precautions such as the use of masks.
- Check with your facility for specific flu vaccination requirements. You will need to comply with at least one of the following:
- Show proof that you have received a seasonal flu vaccination for the 2019-2020 season.
- Document declination of the 2019-2020 seasonal influenza vaccination.
- If you decline the seasonal flu vaccination, you may be required to wear a mask when working in close proximity to patients or in designated areas.