Should I get a flu shot? Experts say the answer is yes

September 29, 2021

Should I get a flu shot? Experts say the answer is yes.

“Getting your flu shot this fall is more important than ever before,” says Matthew Ferrari, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics, Penn State.

That’s because with more influenza out there, more people may mistake their symptoms for COVID-19.

“This could increase the demand for COVID-19 testing, which is already limited,” says Ferrari. “And if more people who don’t have COVID-19 are taking tests, then the percentage of tests that are COVID positive will go down, which isn’t bad on its own, but does make it harder to interpret trends in actual COVID-19 numbers. We can do a better job of monitoring the COVID situation if it is less muddled by influenza.” 

In addition, Ferrari notes that health systems are already overburdened with COVID-19 patients. “The flu vaccine will prevent unnecessary health care visits,” he says. “This will help everyone, since you and others are less likely to get high-quality care in an overburdened system.”

Furthermore, COVID-19 is already causing enough of an operational disruption by adding to work and school absenteeism. “The flu will compound this loss of productivity and make everyone’s work harder to do,” says Ferrari.

“Not only that,” he adds, “COVID-19 has already caused so many of us to miss friends, family and milestones. Flu can do the same, so getting both the flu and the COVID-19 vaccines will help us all get back to doing the things we love. For all these reasons, I highly recommend that everyone in the Penn State community get their COVID and flu shots before the fall break.”

Flu vaccine clinics for employees will be held throughout October at all the Penn State campuses. At the University Park campus, flu vaccine clinics for students will be held on Sept. 30 and Oct. 25 in the HUB-Robeson Center.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend annual flu vaccination for everyone 6 months and older, with few exceptions, through primary care physicians, health departments, or local pharmacies. Learn more about this year's flu vaccination at the CDC's website.

Last Updated October 05, 2021