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Why you should always get your flu shot

Illustration of the silhouette of a person holding a needle.
Image Credit: Alissa Challis

As cold and flu season approaches, protecting our health and well-being becomes a top priority. One crucial step towards maintaining a healthy community is getting vaccinated against the flu.

According to the Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU), the flu is a common viral illness that spreads easily, particularly during the winter months. Each year, thousands of Canadians are affected by the flu, leading to school absences, work disruptions, increased healthcare visits and even death.

Students being in close proximity in educational institutions are at higher risk of flu transmission. A study conducted by the MLHU found that flu outbreaks in schools can lead to decreased academic performance and increased absenteeism. By getting vaccinated, students can protect themselves and their peers, ensuring a healthy and uninterrupted learning environment.

London has a diverse population, including elderly individuals and people with underlying health conditions who are more susceptible to severe flu complications. The MLHU highlighted that vaccination not only protects individuals but also helps prevent the spread of the virus to vulnerable populations.

By encouraging flu shots, we can foster a sense of community responsibility and protect those who are most at risks. The flu shot is free and it is advised that everyone between six months of age and older get vaccinated. The shots are widely available at pharmacies, walk- in clinics and health care facilities. The City of London website provides information about flu shot clinics, their operating hours and eligibility criteria.

As responsible individuals, let us take a proactive step towards winter wellness by getting vaccinated and encouraging others to do the same. Dr. Alex Summers, Chief Medical Officer for the MLHU, further explained that they see an increased amount of respiratory viral and bacterial illnesses every winter because of people spending more time indoors in closer contact with one another.

“The influenza virus is one of the viruses that can easily pass from one person to another which can make people quite sick and that’s what we also call the flu,” he said. “We also see COVID of course, as another respiratory virus that can transmit easily from one person to another which also happens more during the fall and winter.”

He stated that it’s important to get vaccinated every year because these viruses mutate. He specifically encouraged people to get boosted against COVID-19.

He encouraged students not to underestimate the way something like the flu can impact their lives and studies, stressing that students should remember that the flu is often more severe than a common cold.

“I think it’s easy for folks, understandably, to think, ‘it’s just the flu.’” he said. “[A] common cold can still put you out, but influenza can really make you sick.”

Dr. Summers also noted that vaccination isn’t just important for ourselves but also necessary for protecting those around you. Dr. Summers said the effectiveness of the flu vaccine differs year after year pending on the virus in circulation that year.

“The vaccination is free and can be found in all pharmacies and walk-in clinics,” Dr. Summers said.

Both Fanshawe College and Western University are home to health clinics where flu shots can also be administered. Visit for more information about influenza and take the time this year to protect yourself and the people around you from the flu.