Necessity of vaccinations


Graphic by Cameron Murry

Story by Cameron Murry, staff writer

Band-Aids adorn the arms of every Kindergartener as they pass through the halls. Sore shoulders and tear-stained cheeks decorate every classroom. These tikes may be miserable, but they are protected.

The 2018-2019 flu season is here, and health officials are encouraging everyone to be vaccinated as soon as possible. Many clinics offer the vaccination for little to no cost, depending on the insurance provider. According to the Center for Disease Control, everyone six months and older should be vaccinated for each influenza season.

Texas High nurses are well aware of the impending influenza season and they stress the importance of vaccinating.

“[Students] need to get their flu shots to protect themselves from the flu because it can be dangerous,” school nurse Robin Keahey said. “If they get the flu, they could be gone from school up to a week. That’s a lot of time to miss. The flu shot gives you some protection.”

Flu strains change from year to year, and the length of each season tends to vary. Because of this, it is important to get vaccinated every year. Pharmacists recommend getting vaccinated for many reasons besides for the reason it protects those with chronic health conditions.

“The flu is easily preventable and the vaccine is highly recommended,” Walmart pharmacist Sarah Blue said. “The vaccine we give is not an active virus. If you get sick, it’s because you came into contact with the virus before you were vaccinated. It takes two weeks for the vaccine to gain full immunity.”

Vaccines reduce the risk of illness by about 50 percent. Due to the two week effectiveness wait time for the vaccination to kick in, those who get vaccinated should still be careful and sanitary throughout the length of influenza season.

“[The flu is] so contagious and can be spread easily,” Blue said. “Wash your hands, don’t cough in peoples’ faces. Cough or sneeze in your elbow.”

Most pharmacies, along with doctors’ offices, offer the flu vaccine. The shot is around $30, but most insurance companies cover the cost of it.

Vaccines prevent illness and reduce hospitalization. It also protects pregnant and postpartum women and can save children’s’ lives, especially infants. The shot reduces the illness’ severity if you happen to get sick and it protects those around you.