Why do you get vaccinated for influenza?
I’ll throw that question back at you. Why wouldn’t I want to receive a vaccine that will prevent me from becoming ill?

Why do you think it is important for people in your line of work to get vaccinated?
As healthcare providers we are responsible for the well-being of our patients. Influenza is a highly contagious disease, and some individuals, such as senior adults, pregnant women, infants, and people with certain chronic medical conditions, are at high risk of serious complications from influenza. A person with influenza is able to spread the disease 1-2 days prior to onset of symptoms, therefore, by the time a healthcare worker has symptoms of influenza they will have already exposed many patients, as well as co-workers. The best way to prevent the transmission of influenza is to receive an influenza vaccine.

Have you had or heard of someone else who has had an serious influenza related event after not being vaccinated for influenza?
Yes, a patient died from complications of influenza. I think it’s important to remember that influenza is still the most frequent cause of death from a vaccine-preventable disease in the United States.

Karla Howell, RN
Communicable Disease Specialist, Saint Louis County Department of Health

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