This post was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
My children have not hugged their grandparents in eight months.
Our family have not stepped inside of my in-laws’ house since the beginning of March.
We’ve celebrated four birthdays separately so far. Cancelled our annual family vacation. Every single picture we have from the last few months was taken with us at least 6 feet apart, and in many of them we’re wearing masks.
I really, really miss my people.
That’s why I’m adamant about everyone in my family having flu shots. There’s too much at stake if any of us get sick, and we’ve already missed out on so much. I’m not willing to lose anything else.
My family’s health is important
I haven’t always been the best at taking care of my own health. There are days when I don’t drink enough water, or I forget to eat dinner or spend way too much time on the couch in front of the television. I’m working on that.
When it comes to my family, though, I’m on it. Every year since I’ve been a mom, I’ve gotten the flu vaccine because my daughter’s pediatrician recommended it to me. The doctor told me it would help ensure that I wouldn’t get sick and pass something on to my daughter.
I took the flu vaccine that day, and every year since.
This year, getting the flu vaccine is even more critical because of COVID-19. Especially for Black and Hispanic families. Look at this, y’all:
A 2016 CDC study showed that African Americans in every age group and Hispanic or Latino persons five years and older were more likely to be hospitalized with flu than white persons.
Hospitalized? During the time of COVID-19??? Oh no, not on my watch.
With my Black senior in-laws, young children—and heck, my husband’s health at stake, I’m not taking any chances at getting the flu. And neither are they.
Myths about the flu Vaccine
A lot of people have strong opinions about vaccines. Every time I talk about it, I have folks throwing all kinds of unsubstantiated advice to me about how evil vaccinations are.
It’s not true. None of it is true, y’all.
Before a vaccine is recommended for use, it goes through testing. It can take years before the FDA determines that it’s safe to administer.
After testing comes clinical trials, in which people volunteer (they are not mandated) to get vaccinated. Every single batch of vaccines are checked to ensure they are potent, pure, and sterile.
I think folks get confused about the flu vaccine because it’s so readily available (it’s free or low-cost through most insurance plans), but it’s still a vaccine. It goes through the exact same process of any other vaccine.
Don’t take my word for it. You can go over to Vaccines.gov for more in-depth information.
The flu vaccine saves lives
I know this year looks very different than the past. Our kids are going to be doing some drive-by trick-or-treating. My family and I are talking about hosting Thanksgiving outdoors so we can stay safe. I don’t even want to think about how we’re going to make Christmas happen.
There are some things I know for certain, though.
Everyone over the age of 6 months old needs a flu vaccine. It’s the single best way to prevent the flu.
It lowers the risk of getting the flu and it lowers the chances of becoming seriously ill, hospitalized, or even dying if you get sick with the flu.
It’s worth the potential side effects of soreness, redness, and/or swelling where shot was given, headache, fever, nausea, or muscle aches if the flu vaccine will help my family and myself stay well.
Get the flu vaccine, Friends. Find out more FACTS about the flu vaccine over on Vaccines.gov.