According to the weekly flu reports, as of December 7th, the rates of flu-like illness has declined. But we can expect these rates to sharply rise as we head further into flu season. Last year was one of the worst flu seasons on record, but the number of cases didn't spike until January/February.
Many people say they won't get the flu shot again because in the past they got the flu shot and they got the flu anyway. But healthcare providers agree that unless you have certain allergies, you should get a flu shot. It's the best protection that we have against the flu.
Reason to annually get the flu shot:
- Flu vaccine prevents millions of illnesses and flu-related doctor’s visits each year. For example, during 2016-2017, flu vaccination prevented an estimated 5.3 million influenza illnesses, 2.6 million influenza-associated medical visits, and 85,000 influenza-associated hospitalizations.
- In seasons when the vaccine viruses matched circulating strains, flu vaccine has been shown to reduce the risk of having to go to the doctor with flu by 40 percent to 60 percent.
1. The vaccine may not match up with the flu viruses actually circulating where you live. The composition of the flu vaccine is reviewed each season and updated if needed to protect against the 3 viruses that research suggests will be most common.
2. People may be exposed to an influenza virus shortly before getting vaccinated or during the two-week period it takes the body to develop protection after getting vaccinated. This exposure could result in a person becoming ill before the vaccination begins to protect them.
3. Unfortunately, some people can get infected with an influenza virus that is included in the vaccine despite getting vaccinated. Protection varies based on health and age. Influenza vaccination works best among young healthy adults and older children. Some older people and people with certain chronic illnesses may develop less immunity after vaccination. But, this doesn't mean you are getting the flu from the vaccination.
Talk to your doctor today about getting a flu shot!
MA Department of Public Health