Don’t take the risk: get a  flu shot

That last thing our health care and education systems need right now is a twin wave of serious illnesses.

With influenza season approaching and the novel coronavirus pandemic still raging, communities face significant risk of becoming overwhelmed. Hospitals and clinics already are taxed by COVID-19 patients and precautions. Meanwhile schools and higher education campuses are in unprecedented blends of in-person and remote instruction.

Let’s not throw an unusually heavy flu season into the mix.

While possible COVID-19 vaccines remain in trials, you can get a flu shot. So can your children. Although the shots are not 100% effective, they are your best defense. Clinics and pharmacies are ready for you to roll up your sleeve, and in many cases, the shots are free.

Staff Writer Jonathan Roberts reported in Thursday’s edition that Ballad Health officials are urging people to get vaccinated early — before flu season arrives in a few weeks. As Ballad Chief Infection Prevention Officer Jamie Swift said, flu vaccination “truly is going to be more important this year than it ever has been.”

Among the many unfortunate effects of COVID-19 has been people’s reluctance to participate in regular health maintenance, including necessary doctor visits and screenings. Despite a host of precautions, people have ignored their wellbeing out of fear of contracting the virus in medical facilities.

Community health also is up against the baseless paranoia surrounding vaccinations, Meanwhile, the charge to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is thwarted by the unconscionable behavior of the anti-mask crowd, as evidenced by a ridiculous demonstration Friday night in Johnson City’s Founders Park.

That’s a dangerous combination of factors.

You don’t have to contribute.

Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Practice social distancing.

Get the flu shot.

-The Johnson City Press