kathy silliman

"We’re a health care organization and this is a health care issue, so we believe we should support our staff by offering this service at no cost.” The free vaccinations are available from October 1 through March 31 each year.

According to Silliman, staff is the most likely source for bringing the flu virus from the community to the Kindred facilities. “Our patients are at high risk,” she says. “Many of them are immunosuppressed. Many have comorbidities. It’s easy for them to catch the flu. If a staff member’s child comes home with the flu and the staff member hasn’t been vaccinated, that staff member can catch it and spread those germs to our patients before they realize they are sick. Staff members who aren’t vaccinated can also catch the flu from patients or other non-vaccinated employees and take it home to their families. By getting as many people vaccinated as possible, we’re decreasing the risk of more people spreading the flu and getting sick.”

Many people avoid flu vaccinations for fear that the flu shot will make them sick. “That’s an old myth,” says Silliman. “The vaccine is a dead virus, and you can’t get sick from a dead virus. It just doesn’t work that way. The people who think they've gotten sick from the flu vaccine in the past probably didn’t even have the flu to begin with. When they really think about it, if they weren’t sick for at least a week, it wasn’t the flu. Also, it takes two weeks to build up antibodies after receiving the flu vaccine, so you can still catch the flu during that two-week time period.”  Be smart and get your flu vaccine!