Dear Center Families,

During the 2017-2018 season the CDC estimated that influenza killed about 80,000 people. It was the highest death toll in 40 years. To put this into perspective, Gillette Stadium’s capacity is 66,820. The following year, the CDC pushed and encouraged people to get the flu vaccination and while the CDC documented “only” 34,200 deaths from influenza during the 2018-2019 influenza season, it was considered one of the longest in 10 years, and there were more than 490,600 hospitalizations. Flu season statistics are still being finalized for 2019-2020.


Given the pandemic we continue to find ourselves in, the CDC, DHHS, and State Epidemiologists are highly recommending everyone 6-months old and older who do not have a medical reason that would prevent them from doing so, to seek out the flu vaccination this year. Frequently asked questions about the flu vaccination include:

-How does the flu vaccination work?

The flu shot causes your body to develop antibodies that can fight against influenza viruses. It can take about 2 weeks after immunization to be protected. If you develop the flu around the time you got the vaccine it is because you were exposed prior to getting the vaccine and were not protected at the time you got infected.

-Does the flu shot cause the flu?

No. Flu vaccinations CANNOT cause the flu. The flu viruses in the vaccine are inactivated, thus cannot be infectious. You may experience side effects including low-grade fever, body aches, headache, and an overall feeling of malaise as your body’s normal immune system responds to the inactivated virus in the vaccine. These symptoms are much less severe than the influenza virus.

-Is it better to get the flu than the flu vaccine?

No. The flu has the potential to be a very complicated disease process, particularly to young children, older adults, and anyone with chronic health conditions. When the vaccine is a good match with what flu strains are circulating, the vaccine can reduce risk of contraction up to 60%. And even when the match is not great, being vaccinated before you get the flu can help you avoid having a severe case. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is an additional important factor since a person can acquire it and the flu at the same time. Getting the flu shot will help to decrease the dangers for everyone and help prevent over-burdening our health system and hospitals.

-When should I get the flu shot?

The CDC recommends you are vaccinated by the end of October. For more information about the flu, read the CDC's “A Guide for Parents.

Bottomline, the flu vaccine is safe and helps protect children from the flu. Join me and my family, and plan to get your flu shots today!

All my best,

Teri Ann