Taking a Shot for the Community


Fever, cough, sore throat, running nose, or fatigue. These symptoms are common for both the flu and COVID-19. The good news is you can get a vaccine to prevent the flu! More than 80 years ago, the first flu vaccination was developed. While technology has advanced, the importance of getting the vaccine has remained. As a great deal of health care resources and frontline workers continue to fight COVID-19, everyone over the age of six months needs to reduce their chances of catching the flu so we can each do our part to conserve these resources. 

Southwest Michigan First organized an in-office flu clinic, free of charge, for all employees and their families. “Focusing on our team’s wellness is our top priority,” said CEO and senior partner Ron Kitchens. “By offering the flu shot here, we were able to minimize the stress and distraction that the flu season may put upon our team members both now—by freeing up their calendars to get one without the travel—and hopefully later by preventing sickness in their households. Of course, if we are able to reduce or alleviate sick time, we are able to increase our productivity and the community’s ability to fight COVID-19 which is a win-win.” Hosting the clinic onsite provided the flexibility and accessibility for families, supports the wellness in the community at large, and also is a direct reflection of the culture at Southwest Michigan First, explained Human Resources Director Heather Burnett. “One of our cultural axioms is ‘Family First,’ and that family goes beyond our four walls and into our homes,” said Heather. “Now, more than ever, keeping our team and their families safe is so important.”

Last flu season, six children died from the flu in Michigan and thousands more were hospitalized across the country. In late August, Governor Gretchen Whitmer promoted the vaccine by getting her flu shot during a press conference. Governor Whitmer said, “When we all get our flu vaccine, we can help keep thousands of flu patients out of the hospitals and prevent overcrowding.” Track down where you can get a flu shot through the CDC vaccine finder

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