Get Vaccinated Before the Holidays

Get Vaccinated Before the Holidays

The holiday season is rapidly approaching. Families, friends, and communities will gather to celebrate all there is to be thankful for and share the love during the fall and winter months. With season’s greetings, though, also comes a not-so-wonderful time of the year—cold and flu season. Adding the ongoing threat of COVID-19, now is the time to prepare for large gatherings with the ones you care about. Read on to get your frequently asked questions answered and explore the importance of getting vaccinated before the holidays.

Should I get vaccinated against the flu and/or COVID-19 before the holiday season?

Absolutely—vaccination is proven to be one of the most effective ways to protect yourself from illnesses, including colds and the flu and COVID-19. By getting vaccinated, you are preparing your body’s immune system to effectively respond to a virus. It also can prevent the illness from progressing in severity. This translates to community immunity, which is vital in stopping the spread of viruses. Stress and lack of Vitamin D in the coming months can also lower your body’s ability to fight off illness, so it will help to have some reinforcement with vaccinations.

Are large family gatherings safe to attend or host once I am vaccinated?

While vaccination significantly reduces the risk of contracting and spreading the flu and COVID-19, it doesn’t eliminate all risk. It does, however, make it significantly safer. If you andyour loved ones are up-to-date with vaccinations, it’s still essential to practice good hand hygiene and mask-wearing for those with higher risk of severe illness or for those that cannot get vaccinated. Checking your temperature if you’re not feeling well is also helpful in determining if you should be around others.

How can I set boundaries during the holidays with unvaccinated guests?

This can be difficult and uncomfortable for you and your guests to discuss, but clearly communicating your expectations is necessary for ensuring a safe gathering. Be sure to know what your boundaries are and prepare to communicate those without judgment. If a guest you’ve invited is unvaccinated, depending on your level of concern, you can ask them to take alternative precautions, such as wearing a mask, washing hands thoroughly, and getting tested prior to the gathering. Coming from a place of empathy while prioritizing safety will help foster a productive discussion.

Will the vaccine be effective if I am traveling?

Yes, in fact, getting vaccinated can protect you in different regions where flu and COVID-19 may be circulating differently or more rapidly. It’s important to consider getting vaccinated far enough in advance to give your body the time it needs to build up your immune system. Again, vaccination won’t completely rid you the chance of getting sick, but it will significantly lower your risk. Protect yourself and your loved ones this holiday season by getting both your flu and COVID-19 vaccinations at a nearby Community Health Center. Click here to find one of West Virginia's 31 Community Health Center Organizations, with more than 400 locations across the state.

The WVPCA is the largest organized primary care network in the state.