November 2, 2022 – when Jason Alexander gave a music show Broadway Jerome Robbins In 1989, he contracted the flu.
It turns out that not getting a flu shot that year nearly cost him a Tony Award.
“I missed six shows because my flu turned into bronchitis,” said Alexander, an asthmatic best known for his role as George Costanza in Seinfeld. “I will never forget how the producers said ‘I don’t care how sick you are, go back to the stage. “I just had a solid week trying to do a really stressful show with bronchitis.”
Although Alexander went on to win Tony, he never missed his annual flu shot again. That experience is one of the reasons he’s involved in Campaign New Flu, a partnership between the American Nurses Association and flu vaccine maker Sanofi.
The campaign, titled “Not Today, Flu,” includes Alexander encouraging people to get vaccinated and urging their loved ones to get the flu shot, too.
This is even more urgent as flu season is in full swing and experts are now warning of a “triple disease” this winter as COVID-19 restrictions are eased. The CDC reports that this year’s flu season is coming and early. Between October 1 and October 22, 443 influenza-related hospitalizations were reported in the agency’s surveillance network, the highest number of hospitalizations reported at this time of the season in 10 years.
“With so much talk about vaccinations over the past two years, I understand why people avoid vaccinations or are reluctant to do so,” Alexander says. “But there is concern in the medical community that this could be a devastating flu season if people are not vaccinated.”
The goal of vaccination: to keep people out of the hospital and avoid respiratory complications.
Turns out Alexander knows a thing or two about life in the hospital. His mother was a nurse and he was often around patients struggling to regain their health.
“I grew up in and around the hospital where she worked,” he says. She worked as a dishwasher and in the laundry room there. My mother would have been very happy if I gravitated towards the medical field, but I am a career idiot, so I went to this instead.”
In the end, Alexander has only one message: Go and get the shot as soon as you can, especially with the holiday season approaching.
“Because we’ve been in a pandemic and everyone has stayed away from each other, we’ve lost some of our natural immunity to the flu,” Alexander says. “This may be the first holiday season since the pandemic began that people are getting together with their loved ones. Why hold up because you have the flu!”
And rest assured: the flu shot is safe.
“There are no horror stories about the flu vaccine,” he says. “They’ve been around your life, they’re well tested, and they definitely won’t make keys stick to your forehead.”
To find a flu vaccine near you, visit NotTodayFlu.