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Don’t Forget Your Flu Shot

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It’s Not Too Late to Get Your Flu Shot

It’s still not too late to get your flu shot, with flu season typically peaking between January and March. Vaccination ideally should occur before flu is circulating widely, but as long as flu is still spreading, it’s not too late to get vaccinated.

Flu vaccine numbers for 2013-2014

Even with flu activity starting to increase across the country, most people remain unvaccinated. Through mid-November, only about 40% of individuals 6 months or older — including 41% of pregnant women and 63% of healthcare workers — had received a flu vaccine. These numbers are about the same percentage of vaccinations as last season at this time.

Does the flu shot really help?

Yes. More than six million cases of the flu were prevented during last year’s, 2012-13, flu season because of vaccination, according to numbers released by the CDC.

For last year’s flu season, even though only 45% of the population received flu vaccine, and vaccine effectiveness was 51%, it is estimated that vaccination prevented 6.6 million illnesses, 3.2 million flu cases for which people would have sought medical attention, and about 79,000 hospitalizations.

The reductions in overall flu-related adverse events for 2012-13 were greater than those estimated to have resulted in the flu seasons between 2005-2011, at least partly because of the increased severity of the season, according to CDC director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH.

Get your flu shot!

“Flu vaccine in a vial doesn’t do anyone any good. The more people vaccinated, the more benefit to individuals, the fewer the hospitalizations, the fewer the illnesses and deaths,” Frieden said.

To get the estimates of how many flu-related events were avoided last season, CDC researchers considered vaccination coverage, vaccine effectiveness, and actual event rates. From October 2012 to May 2013, there were an estimated 31.8 million flu cases, 14.4 million medically attended cases, and 381,000 hospitalizations.

Of the hospitalizations that were avoided, more than two-thirds (69%) were averted in children younger than 5 and adults 65 and older, the two groups that are most likely to be hospitalized with influenza.

Contact Zimmet Vein & Dermatology at (512) 402-6694 for more information.

 

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