Rita Wilson Wants You To Get Your Flu Shot NPR's Scott Simon speaks to Rita Wilson about her recovery from COVID-19, and about her campaign to get 200 million Americans over the age of 50 to get flu shots this year.
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Rita Wilson Wants You To Get Your Flu Shot

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Rita Wilson Wants You To Get Your Flu Shot

Rita Wilson Wants You To Get Your Flu Shot

Rita Wilson Wants You To Get Your Flu Shot

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NPR's Scott Simon speaks to Rita Wilson about her recovery from COVID-19, and about her campaign to get 200 million Americans over the age of 50 to get flu shots this year.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Wash your hands. Wear a mask. And get a flu shot. If you won't listen to us, what about Rita Wilson? The actor, producer and songwriter has recovered from COVID and is helping to spearhead The Race To 200 Million campaign in the effort to get people over the age of 50 to get a flu vaccine. And she's got a new song.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WHAT I WOULD SAY")

RITA WILSON: (Singing) I know just how to cry, won't even have to try. I practice what to say. And they say, are you going OK?

SIMON: The song is called "What I Would Say." And we'll get to that. But first, Rita Wilson joins us from the West Coast. Thanks so much for being with us.

WILSON: Thank you so much. It's such a pleasure to be here.

SIMON: Well, it's good to be with you. Last March, you and - what's his name? I'm drawing a blank.

WILSON: Oh, it's on the tip of my tongue (laughter).

SIMON: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I'll Google it. In any event, how are you feeling?

WILSON: Well, I'm feeling so well - fortunately and gratefully, feeling so well.

SIMON: There were some rough moments, I gather, though, from what I've read.

WILSON: Yeah. You know, I've COVID-19 - not fun to have it. For me, it was worse than I thought it was going to be. It started out just achy and feverish. And it kicked in for me much worse on about day eight. I had vertigo, extreme nausea, vomiting. I had lost my sense of taste and smell, which nobody really knew about at that point. It did take about two months for the sense of smell and taste to come back.

SIMON: We're at the beginning of flu season. You have a direct message for anyone listening, don't you?

WILSON: I do. There are 200 million people that are in a high-risk group, of which I am one. And maybe you are, too, mister.

SIMON: OK. I'll acknowledge the obvious. Yes.

WILSON: (Laughter) And that is people over the age of 50 and people with chronic diseases like heart disease or diabetes or asthma. And that's 200 million people that, if they get a flu, shot don't get the flu - that's 200 million people that are not going to be going to the hospital and overwhelming our health care system. The ANA, the American Nurses Association and I, are launching something called theraceto200m.com. If we can get 200 million people to get the flu shot and keep the flu out of those families, think of what that would be like? You know, nobody getting sick, nobody staying out of work, nobody giving it to their families - it's going to be a cold winter. And COVID-19 isn't going anywhere.

SIMON: You know, I have to ask there are people who are skeptical of vaccines. What would you say to reassure them?

WILSON: Well, I would say talk to your doctor. You know, not everything you read is factual (laughter). I am a big believer in what science says.

SIMON: Tell me about your your new song "What I Would Say." It's got a tune, but it's also got a purpose, doesn't it?

WILSON: Yup. This is a really for the families of people who love and care for someone who might be struggling with alcoholism or drug addiction. I know a lot of people struggle with their recovery during quarantine. And there's help for people out there. I really want people to know that there's organizations out there like AA, Alcoholics Anonymous or Al Anon. And they're free. And there's meetings everywhere online and to seek it out if you're feeling vulnerable.

SIMON: Boy, this has been a rough year. What do you think you might have learned?

WILSON: You always think you're not going to be the person to get something. You have a blessed life, but then you get it. You get breast cancer. You get COVID-19. You get the flu (laughter). I'm not going to get the flu because I'm going to get my flu shot. But...

SIMON: But you have had the first two.

WILSON: Yeah. But I've had the first two. And I have always thought of myself as a pretty grateful person, but that has been deepened in this time. And one of the other things I learned was that we're at a time where it seems like there's a lot of bad that's going on. But there are so many good people out there doing the right things. I'm inspired by them. I have faith in the greater good.

SIMON: Rita Wilson, thank you so much for being with us.

WILSON: Thank you so much - always a pleasure.

[POST-BROADCAST CORRECTION: A previous version of this transcript incorrectly referred to Rita Wilson's new song as "What Would I Say." It is called "What I Would Say."]

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Correction Oct. 10, 2020

A previous version of this transcript incorrectly referred to Rita Wilson's new song as "What would I say." It is called "What I would say."