With fall comes flu-vaccination season — a time when you can both protect yourself and help others in the process.
Our nonprofit agency, Minnesota Visiting Nurse Agency (MVNA), will once again offer flu shot clinics in collaboration with Health Fair 11 at Cub Foods. Clinics will be held Oct. 8 through 11, Oct. 15 through 18, and Nov. 12 through 15. When you get your vaccination by an MVNA nurse at a Cub clinic, you are actually giving back to the community.
Why? Because all proceeds from our flu-shot clinics go back to the community to support our primary mission: providing public-health nursing services to those who would otherwise go without. From the elderly and disabled to young mothers and their children, MVNA nurses help the most vulnerable people in our community.
But it’s estimated that only 30 percent of the public will obtain a flu shot this year. Common excuses include: “I’m young and healthy,” “I don’t live or work with little kids, the elderly or the infirm,” or “I heard it just doesn’t work.”
Simplest, most effective prevention
Yet anyone can get and spread the flu. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 5 to 20 percent of the U.S. population will get the flu every year and about 36,000 will die. An annual flu shot is still the simplest, most effective way to prevent the flu, along with washing your hands regularly and covering your face when you cough or sneeze.
In recent years, both children and adults in Minnesota have died from flu-related complications — and many had not had their flu shot. Some were in groups we’d consider to be especially vulnerable: people with chronic medical conditions, under age 5 or over age 50. Some were not in these groups.
New guidelines this year
New guidelines from the CDC this year recommend that children age six months up to their 19th birthday get a flu shot; the previous recommendation was for children only through age 5.
My hope is that families will not only heed this new recommendation, but that mom and dad will get their shot, too. Because every shot counts toward reducing the spread of the virus.
So remember to wash your hands regularly, cover your face when you sneeze and cough — and while you’re picking up dinner at your local Cub Foods, take a moment and get your flu shot. Your community will thank you.
Mary Ann Blade is CEO of Minnesota Visiting Nurse Agency (MVNA), a nonprofit agency providing home health care for 106 years.
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