New Research Highlights Strengths & Weaknesses of the Flu Shot

Jeannette Daniel
December 14, 2017

So far, there have been 612 influenza-related hospitalizations reported this season, and no reports of pediatric deaths from influenza. So does that mean it will be the same for the flu vaccine in the U.S.?

Healthcare providers are saying this flu season could be rough one.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccination as the first and most important step in protecting against flu and its potentially serious complications.

If you visit the doctor during the flu season, ask whether all of the people in the office have been vaccinated.

According to CDC numbers, vaccine effectiveness usually ranges from around 40 to 60-percent, but they do occasionally dip in certain seasons when the vaccine created doesn't match well with the type of flu circulating.

An above-average flu season in the US?

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Free flu vaccines are available for uninsured Sedgwick County adult residents while the vaccination is in stock.

Flu vaccination can keep you from getting sick from flu. "Don't care so much if a kid has a sniffle for a couple days, and we know that in previous years our vaccine has been effective, maybe somewhere between 50 and 80% of stopping serious illness and death, which is pretty good, because that's really what you want to stop".

Fairfield Medical Center takes an aggressive stance about getting the word out regarding the importance of vaccinations, starting with providing flu information and an offer to administer the vaccination to every patient who is admitted to the center.

"You gotta remember that the virus mutates and changes and so the few months it takes to develop a flu vaccine by the time that occurs that particular virus may have already morphed and modified into something a little bit different where the virus vaccine won't take effect", said Dr. Hetal Thakore, Medical Director, Doctors Hospital. Also, those who get the shot and contract influenza A (H3N2) will likely recover faster than those who don't get vaccinated. This protective benefit was observed for four months after birth.

In addition to lowering your chances of getting the flu, the shot can also make the illness milder if you do catch it. Studies of pregnant women who get the flu shot have also shown it can reduce their newborns' risk of catching the flu by half. It excludes deaths during flu pandemics and from conditions exacerbated by the flu, such as heart disease.

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