How Effective is a Flu Shot?
An estimated 80,000 Americans died of flu and its complications last year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This tally, released last month, signifies one of the worst for flu fatalities that experts have seen in recent years. They say this was in part driven by a particularly bad strain of flu that tends to cause hospitalizations and complications like pneumonia, stroke, and heart attack. Now, to reduce the potential severity of this year’s flu season, experts are urging all Americans to get vaccinated.
There’s no doubt the flu vaccine has previously been a tried-and-true defense against illness during the fall and winter. However, last year’s flu season raised some questions about how effective a flu shot could be: One reason for the high fatality count was that the vaccine adequately defended recipients in a mere 36% of Influenza A and B cases. Still, both the CDC and the American Medical Association say the vaccine ultimately saves lives and protects the health of the public.
Before you choose whether or not to be vaccinated against the flu this fall, make sure you discuss both options with your general care provider. Some factors you’ll want to consider while making a decision are your age, any existing health conditions you face, and the overall state of your health/how susceptible you are to falling ill. The CDC recommends that everyone older than 6 months be vaccinated once a year. For more information on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s flu vaccination guidelines, please click here.