Family Medicine Chair available to comment on necessity of flu vaccinations

Dr. Stephen Wetmore, Chair of the Department of Family Medicine at Western University's Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry

As the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to climb, experts are urging people to get vaccinated against the seasonal flu.

Dr. Stephen Wetmore, Chair of the Department of Family Medicine at Western’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry says never before has getting your flu shot been more important. He is available to media for comment.

“This year’s flu vaccine should be quite effective as it immunizes against the major strain of influenza that was circulating in the southern hemisphere this year. Influenza vaccine not only protects yourself but those around you as well,” Dr. Wetmore explained.

Dr. Wetmore points out that studies have shown that in long term care homes, where there is a high rate of influenza vaccination among the staff, there is a reduced influenza death rate for residents of that home by approximately 40 per cent compared to long term care homes where there is a low rate of staff vaccination against influenza.

He says protection against influenza will also free up resources in testing centres, family doctors’ offices and hospitals, in order to be better prepared to deal with a potential influx of COVID-infected patients

“Influenza vaccination status also will be helpful in the assessment of patients with respiratory symptoms. If they have been vaccinated against flu it will help doctors to diagnose that patient as having other virus infections or even COVID-19.”

Commentary reflects the perspective and scholarly interest of Western faculty members and is not an articulation of official university policy on issues being addressed.