Why You Shouldn’t Skip The Flu Vaccine

A woman receiving the flu vaccine.
Why You Shouldn’t Skip The Flu Vaccine

It’s that time of year again! Flu season comes around every year and can last from fall into early spring, and each year we receive emails, see signs, and hear from our doctors telling us that we should protect ourselves by getting the flu shot. Unfortunately, many people choose not to get the flu vaccine, despite how easy it is! In today’s blog, we’re addressing those of you who may be considering skipping the flu vaccine this year, because the flu shot is a safe, quick, and easy way to keep yourself, your family, and others around you safe from a seriously unpleasant illness.

 

One of the most common reasons why people are wary of getting the flu shot is simply because they don’t think they need it. Because the flu comes around yearly and is fairly common, many people think that it’s not serious, but this is a misconception because influenza can be severe enough to require hospitalization, even for groups not considered higher risk. The groups at higher risk of complications from influenza include:

  • Children under the age of 5
  • People who have previously had a stroke
  • People with asthma, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, cancer, or heart disease
  • Pregnant women
  • People 65 and older

Estimates from the Centers for Disease Control show that people 65 and older constitute at least 50% of influenza hospitalizations and at least 70% of flu-related deaths. This makes the flu vaccine essential for older people, and for people who live with an older family member or interact with elderly people on a daily basis.

 

Another reason that people may not want to get the flu vaccine is that they’re not sure how it works. This is understandable, because vaccines can be difficult to understand and it may seem strange that there’s a new flu shot every year. Myths around vaccines, and the flu vaccine in particular, are common on social media. One of the most pervasive myths is that the flu shot is not 100% effective. New influenza strains circulate every year, so medical researchers have to base the following year’s vaccine on educated guesses. The accuracy of these predictions varies year by year, so one year the vaccine may be a perfect match while the next year an unexpected strain of influenza may be in circulation. Even in years when the vaccine doesn’t quite match up, vaccinated patients often get a much milder case than those without, and are much less likely to suffer from complications. 

 

The flu vaccine is easy to get, so why not get one? Nearly all Los Angeles pharmacies have flu shots available, and it’s likely that your primary care physician can administer a flu vaccine free of cost. Getting your influenza vaccine is even more important in today’s climate, because keeping yourself and the people around you healthy can help ease the strain that COVID-19 has placed on the medical system. Interested in learning more about the flu vaccine, or transferring a prescription to another pharmacy? Contact Medico today.