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3 reasons you need the flu vaccine

We're heading into the season when cases of the flu increase and eventually impact EMS systems across the U.S.


Editor's note: A controversial new mandate will force thousands of Calif. healthcare workers to get flu shots this fall — or wear a mask at work the entire influenza season.

We're heading into the season when cases of the flu increase and eventually impact EMS systems across the U.S.

It's crucial that EMS providers be protected from contracting the illness, and here's why: 

1. Influenza is really not trivial. Estimates range from 23,000 to 41,000 deaths annually associated with the flu, with the majority occurring in the younger and older segments of the population. Part of the rate of incidence is the flu's high transmission rate; it's relatively easy to spread the virus from one person to the next. Vaccination helps to limit the chain of transmission. 

2. As healthcare providers, we really need to be highly protected so that we can interact with our patients and minimize the flu's impact on us. We have to be available when the community needs emergency response and transportation.

3. While this report does not single out EMS providers, it is nevertheless disturbing that one in three healthcare providers is not vaccinated. This sobering statistic will contribute to the burden of care associated with influenza.

I'm getting my shot next week, and I hope you consider getting one as well. Not only is it good for me personally; it's also good for my family, friends and patients. That should count for something.

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