October 8, 2021 | OPINION | By Karly Hamilton | Photo by Isaac Yee

As the seasons continue to change and flu season quickly approaches, it is time for people to get their annual flu shot. With the Delta variant still posing a significant health risk, it is especially important to get vaccinated and keep oneself and others safe this flu season. 

Before COVID-19, I never thought much about my vaccinations. I went back to school in September and got my flu shot a few weeks later; it was like clockwork. This year, however, is different. 

I have always been wary of sickness, but COVID-19 brought out a different awareness of germs for me. After spending a year in near isolation, the transition to college and increased chances of getting sick took some adjustment. As a result, I was quick to jump on getting my flu shot when September rolled around. 

While the flu shot only protects against the flu, not COVID-19, the illnesses can manifest with similar symptoms. As a result, it is all the more important to be protected against the flu so one does not get sick and mistake it for COVID-19.

After seeing many of my peers deal with a common cold over the past few weeks and immediately get COVID-19 tested to ensure the illness was nothing serious, taking all steps to protect against illness feels increasingly crucial. 

From what I have witnessed so far, sickness spreads across a college campus like wildfire, which means we should all be doing what we can to protect ourselves — and each other. Flu vaccines have a high safety record and limited side effects, so there is little reason not to get one. COVID-19 shots have also been proven to be safe and effective.

Additionally, with conversations about COVID-19 booster shots for the general population continuing, it is important to note that individuals can receive COVID-19 and flu vaccinations at the same time. 

Flu season occurs in the fall and winter, and last year saw a peak in COVID-19 cases during the winter months. As a result, we need to be vigilant this year in order to prevent a rise in cases as colder months quickly approach. 

While wearing masks limits our chances of getting COVID-19 or other illnesses, it is not a catch-all solution. Flu shots are accessible and have limited side effects, and most importantly, they are fairly effective. 

As soon as I could get a flu shot this year, I jumped on the opportunity; I saw no reason not to, and now I feel better about maintaining my health this fall and winter. To anyone who is on the fence about getting a flu shot: I urge you to do the same.

There are only so many things we can do to protect each other and getting vaccinated is one of them. Whether it be an annual flu shot or the COVID-19 vaccine, we are protecting both ourselves and others by getting vaccinated. 

Living in close proximity to so many people and interacting with a wide range of individuals on a day-to-day basis makes it even more important to be safe. Personally, mask-wearing and staying up to date with my vaccinations makes me feel a lot safer socializing with others daily. 

As a community, we need to work to protect each other — and not just from COVID-19. I suspect that flu shots, COVID-19 booster shots, and continued mask-wearing will all be continued topics of conversation in the coming weeks, if not months. 

To my fellow community members, let’s do what we can to protect ourselves and each other: get vaccinated. 

Colorado College is holding an on-campus flu shot clinic next Saturday, Oct. 16 from 11:30a.m. to 1p.m. in the main space of Cornerstone Arts Center. No appointment is required.  

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