Federal health officials are making recommendations to all Americans to have their flu shots. They are particularly concerned that not enough elderly people are getting the flu shot. Influenza can be dangerous for everyone, but it poses specific threats to older people. They can suffer complications that can be serious and might even require hospitalization. As such, they are risk group that should get the flu shot with priority.
Getting the Flu Shot as Soon as Possible
Having said that, it’s important for everyone to get vaccinated. The sooner you do it, the better. That way you will be ahead of the flu season, when the virus begins to spread.
Dr. Thomas Frieden is the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He held a joint briefing on Thursday together with representatives of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. He said that flu was serious and that it was unpredictable.
There is no way of knowing for sure how the influenza virus will affect you. In most people it causes mild illness. The severity of the illness isn’t great and you can hope to recuperate within a couple of weeks. But there is the chance that the virus might have a greater impact on your health. Although usually flu symptoms are of mild severity, the situation can always take a turn for the worst. Dr. Thomas Frieden noted that during flu season, influenza can lead to several tens of thousands of deaths. Each year, about 100 children die from the flu.
The flu does not get taken seriously enough, but it is a virus that can seriously damage your health. Vaccination can keep you safe and can help mitigate the spread of the airborne virus.
Vaccination Rates Are Down from Last Year
The CDC as well as other specialists in infectious disease are concerned by vaccination rates. There has been a drop in seasonal flu vaccination. Last year, about 45 percent of the population of the United States got vaccinated against the influenza virus. That’s 1.5 percent less that in the previous year.
When looking more closely at the statistics there is a more alarming trend. It looks like older people are less likely to get vaccinated. The drop from the previous year was even more significant in their case. Among people aged 50 to 64 there was a 3.4 percent drop in vaccination rates. Among those aged 65 and older there was a 3.3 percent drop. The elderly are especially at risk of developing life-threatening complications of the illness.
There are 168 million doses of vaccine available this year. According to the CDC, 93 million doses have already been distributed. So there are enough doses around for you to be able to get your shot.
Recently, questions were raised about whether there is such a thing as getting the flu shot too soon. The concern would be that getting the flu vaccine too early diminishes its effectiveness. At the briefing, however, federal officials recommended against waiting. They advised getting the flu shot as soon as possible.
Image source: here.