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Prepare & Protect: The Importance of Flu Vaccines For Our Family

families supporting flu vaccination
Posted on November 15, 2022
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Staying up to date with vaccinations and yearly checkups have always been a priority in my family. With my mother having worked in science, my grandfather as a pharmacist, and my grandmother as a nurse, we have always been a health and science-oriented family.

Katie Miller

Being vaccinated became an even greater priority in all of our lives after my younger sister was hospitalized for more than two weeks with influenza and double pneumonia. Those two weeks truly changed our lives and set us on a path to becoming vaccination advocates, educating and encouraging others to protect themselves and those around them. This became even more important when my grandfather was recently diagnosed with multiple myeloma.

With flu season upon us, I was curious to hear my grandfather’s perspective on vaccinations, especially on the heels of learning about his illness.

grandfather with granddaughters

“Working as a pharmacist for over 40 years, I’ve always seen the importance of getting vaccinated,” he said. With his calm and matter-of-fact tone, my grandfather went on.

“As someone over 65 and my recent diagnosis, I am now immunocompromised, so being vaccinated helps to lower my risk of getting the flu, plain and simple. However, if I do get sick, the vaccine will also minimize my symptoms and hopefully help avoid a trip to the hospital.”

Putting on his ‘pharmacist hat’, he added, “I always viewed getting vaccinated against influenza as a very critical task even prior to my diagnosis.”

My parents, sister, and I are all vaccinated, and do so at the beginning of every school year. It is our obligation to ensure that we are protected even in the early stages of flu season and encourage others to follow suit. Being vaccinated has always been incredibly important but it takes on a whole new meaning this year. It means we won’t have to miss out on spending valuable time with our grandfather.

grandfather holding dog with grandchildren

When I asked him if he had received his flu shot yet he said, “Of course! We plan ahead by getting our vaccines as early in the season as possible.”

This preparedness is something I have always admired about my grandfather. I think ‘prepare and protect’ should be our new family mantra.

The Families Fighting Flu Junior Board is a group of teens and young adults passionate about flu education. Using peer-to-peer messaging, the Junior Board aims to increase flu vaccination rates and raise awareness of flu severity among their networks. Read more about Katie here.

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