Goshen News, Goshen, IN

January 25, 2013

There's still a need for flu vaccinations


— Follow your doctor’s recommendation and get a flu shot.

That’s our advice to our readers. We offer up the advice because the flu virus is still prevalent in Indiana, according to the Indiana Department of Health. As of Thursday the virus had killed 40 Hoosiers. Most of the deaths were elderly people who had other health issues, according to the department.

Still, elderly Goshen residents shouldn’t accept that it’s inevitable that they will contract the flu. Vaccination, along with good hygiene, especially the practice of frequent hand washing and avoiding people who have cold and flu symptoms, is a good combination to reduce the risk of contracting the flu, according to health officials.

While there have been plenty of cases of influenza already reported in Indiana, nobody can tell for certain if the outbreak is lessening or getting worse. But here is what an official from the Centers for Disease Control says about that. “Flu season typically peaks in February and can last as late as May,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, assistant surgeon general of the U.S. Public Health Service and director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. “We are encouraging people who have not yet been vaccinated to get vaccinated now.”

We think that is good advice from an expert.

In our community, and all across the United States there is a small movement that includes people who reject immunizations. As this is the United States, the land of the free, we think that in many cases citizens have the right to reject immunizations. But, in the case of communicable diseases including measles, chicken pox, the mumps, rubella and a few others, it makes sense to require blanket protection of our school children.

But the influenza vaccination has always been a personal choice, and it should remain so. However, we urge local residents to educate themselves on the benefits of receiving this vaccination. We think it will add protection to their health and to the health of the loved ones whom they come in contact with. There is no certain way to avoid the flu, or any other disease, but the combination of vaccination, good hygiene and avoiding contact with people who are sick is a proven way to reduce the likelihood a person will contract influenza. So, again, we urge those in the Goshen area who have not received the influenza vaccine to study the benefits and then consider accepting this proven protection.