Lakiea Wright, MD: Dispelling Patient Fears and Concerns Over the Flu Vaccination

September 28, 2020

Educating patients of the immune system can be helpful in addressing any concerns over getting vaccinated for the flu.

Many patients may express concern over getting the seasonal influenza (flu) vaccination. Such wariness may be associated with fears that the vaccine may in fact give them the virus. Therefore, educating patients about the immune system and explaining why certain symptoms may occur following vaccination is an important step in breaking down these barriers.

In an interview with HCPLive®, Lakiea Wright, MD, Allergy and Immunology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital offered certain strategies that can be used in helping to alleviate patient fears. 

For example, she usually explains to patients that certain reactions to the flu vaccination—such as body aches or cold symptoms—are related to the immune system doing its job of developing antibodies against the attenuated virus. Therefore, the body will have developed a greater preparedness if one were to come into contact with the flu.

“I really draw this distinction with patients, driving home that immune system education,” she said.

Furthermore, she emphasized that while we are waiting for a vaccine for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), it becomes increasingly important to encourage patients to utilize current flu vaccine resources in addition to adhering to the public health infection control measures.

“For me as a provider, and for other providers and clinicians, it is important that we have this concerted educational drive and initiative so that our patients can buy into what we are saying,” Wright concluded. “It will really help decrease the burden of circulating viruses during this pandemic.”