The CDC Immunization Services Division is strongly recommending individuals of all ages to be vaccinated against the annual flu prior to the start of school in September. They summarize that “because we expect that SARS-CoV-2 will continue to circulate into the fall, influenza vaccination will be an important strategy to decrease stress on our healthcare system by decreasing doctor visits and hospitalizations as well as decreasing the number of people who will need diagnostic testing.” (Melinda Wharton, MD, MPH, director, Immunization Services Division, NCIRD, CDC)
The PLU Health Center and the School of Nursing are planning to host our annual, no-cost flu shot clinic at the end of September, but we are urging all students, staff and faculty to get their flu shots before arriving on campus this year.
We strongly urge you to consider a flu shot as part of your individual responsibility in maintaining your health wherever possible in the face of the ongoing pandemic. Getting the flu doesn’t mean you may not also simultaneously become ill with COVID-19; the combination of the two illnesses will increase the severity and duration of the illness.
We don’t know when a COVID-19 vaccine will be available. There is speculation that this may happen by the end of the year or early in 2021 but there is also the likelihood that we’ll continue to see active cases of COVID-19 through this fall.
In addition to a flu shot and all of the established COVID-19 precaution recommendations that we have all been learning to live with (facemasks, physical distancing, hand washing, increased cleaning awareness) and that PLU has been implementing, we encourage you to continue general physical and emotional health/wellness practices, such as regular exercise, healthy eating patterns and food choices, consistent sleep patterns, and social interaction (including all its new forms).