Since 2010, the flu has resulted in about 500,000 hospitalizations yearly and contributed to about 25,000 deaths. That’s why the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) urges everyone 6 months and older to get vaccinated. But a recent survey disclosed that only 48% of adults said they had received a flu shot in the previous 12 months.
One reason for not receiving this valuable protection is based on the premise that the shot “doesn’t work,” but actual research indicates that the shot cuts your risk by about 50% or more. And even if you contract the flu, the symptoms will be mitigated with a reduced likelihood of serious complications—including death!
Another reason frequently given is that the shot may actually cause the flu. However, all the flu vaccines in use today contain an inactivated virus that can’t trigger the flu. But since the vaccine doesn’t eliminate entirely your chance of getting the flu, some people who develop flu-like symptoms after getting the shot wrongly blame the vaccine, or might be suffering from a condition that only mimics the flu.
Another excuse I hear for not getting the shot is that is contains a harmful amount of mercury. But this is a mercury-containing preservative called thimerosal found in some vaccines, but if present, only in trace amounts. This kind of mercury—ethylmercury—is eliminated by the body more quickly than is methylmercury, the form in some seafood. Moreover, no research has ever linked this substance to any complications, including autism.
WHICH VACCINE SHOULD YOU RECEIVE?
For teens and adults: a quadrivalent vaccine is recommended, which protects against four flu strains.
For people 50 and older: Flublok Quadrivalent, which has triple the dose of other quadrivalents.
For people 65 and older: They have two choices—Fluzone High-Dose and Fluad. Both protect against three strains, but Fluzone has four times the dose and Fluad adds an ingredient to boost the immune system’s response, a property that leads me to recommend this latter choice.
Under all circumstances, do not fail to consider this protection, which can be obtained from you doctor, but also quickly and easily in many pharmacies such as Walgreen’s and CVS.