Saint Vincent Hospital Urges the Community to Get Yearly Flu Shot — Not the Flu

Dec 12, 2023

December 4-8, 2023 is National Influenza Vaccination Week

Worcester, Mass. – With the first of the winter’s cold weather of 2023 already in the books, experts say that receiving this year’s influenza vaccination should be at the top of everyone’s to-do list, especially since Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) and COVID-19 are active in the Greater Worcester area.

Next week, December 4-8, 2023, is National Influenza Vaccination Week, a reminder for everyone six months and older to get a flu vaccine this season.

Influenza is a respiratory infection that can cause serious complications, particularly to young children, older adults and people with certain medical conditions. According to a CDC study, more than 200,000 people in the United States are hospitalized each year for respiratory and heart conditions, illnesses associated with influenza virus infections. Flu season starts in October and continues until March of the following year.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), receiving a flu shot offers the greatest protection against the flu, and annual vaccination is recommended for all individuals six months or older who do not have specific medical conditions that would be exacerbated by the vaccine.

Dr. George Abraham, an infectious disease physician and Chief of Medicine at Saint Vincent Hospital, says that getting vaccinated against the flu is a simple and proven way to protect against one of the world’s most common illnesses.

“When you get a flu shot, you reduce your risk of contracting influenza by 50 to 80 percent,” says Dr. Abraham. “Additionally, if you've gotten the flu shot and catch the flu anyway, your illness will be milder. The flu shot gives you a great deal of protection.”

Dr. Abraham says that not only can local residents protect themselves and their loved ones by receiving the flu shot, they can also ensure that emergency rooms not become overwhelmed during flu season.

Some people worry about possible side effects but the flu shot’s benefits heavily outweigh the side effects. Most people experience nothing more than a little soreness in the arm after being vaccinated. Other mild problems could include fever or aches, which disappear within a day or two. No one with a severe egg allergy (anaphylaxis) should get the vaccine because the vaccine virus is grown in eggs.

While receiving the annual flu shot is a proven means to protect against the flu, there are additional methods to protect against the virus, according to the CDC, including:

  • Avoiding close contact with others, especially those who are sick
  • Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing
  • Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly
  • Avoid touching your face, especially your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Stay at home when you are sick

We want everyone to have a safe and healthy holiday season and encourage you to get the Flu, RSV, and COVID-19 vaccines.

We’re ready when you need us! For more information on emergency services at Saint Vincent Hospital, visit:

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