Michigan Association of Health Plans

Opinion: Parents — make fighting the flu a priority for your family

This story appeared in the Traverse City Record-Eagle. Read more here

We are living in a time when vaccines are more important than ever. The COVID-19 vaccine is available to individuals age 5 and up and as you get your eligible children vaccinated against COVID-19, remember that it is equally as important to get them vaccinated against the flu.

Any child over the age of 6 months is eligible for the flu vaccine, and it is especially important for children under the age of 5 and children with pre-existing medical conditions to get vaccinated. The flu virus spreads rapidly every year, and by protecting your children with the vaccine, you can ensure that their risk of severe infection is low.

Flu vaccination also keeps mothers and babies safe. By getting the flu vaccine while pregnant, mothers pass on antibodies to their babies, and getting a flu shot reduces a pregnant mother’s risk of hospitalization by 40 percent.

As a parent, you want what is best for your child. You want them to be safe, and the pandemic has made us all feel less in control of our family’s safety. We have seen the firsthand effects of the benefits of vaccines in children, and even if your child cannot yet receive the COVID-19 vaccine, the flu vaccine will protect them and the community from the possibility of a “twindemic.”

Getting a flu vaccine isn’t just about protecting you — it is about protecting your new baby nephew, your pregnant friend and your neighbor battling cancer. You can help protect them by getting vaccinated.

Your choice to vaccinate helps keep your family, your child’s teachers, essential workers and the entire community safe, too. It is up to all of us to stop the spread of the flu.

It is not too late to get vaccinated against the flu. For more information about vaccines and answers to commonly asked questions, visit Michigan.gov/Flu or IVaccinate.org.

About the author: David Best is a physician based out of Traverse City, and he is the president of the Michigan Osteopathic Association.

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