What happens when your ‘healthy’ friend doesn’t get the flu shot.
Before we get into this week's blog post I want to make my stance very clear that I STRONGLY believe that unless you are allergic to the flu vaccine then you should have no choice but to get it. As a health professional I have not had a choice on whether I wanted to get a flu shot for the better part of 12 years. With the field that I am, the risk of picking up the flu (along with other contact related illnesses) are so high that not only am I protecting myself but protecting all those that come into contact with me especially my family members.
As we gear up for what looks like to be another brutal season of the flu virus I am already starting to see those terrible excuses for not picking up the flu shot so I wanted to list a few facts/figures from the 2017 season to use as ammo when one of your ‘healthy' family members/friends/colleagues decides that the flu shot just isn't for them.
I think first its important to remember a few of the articles that came out during last years flu season.
Lets head down memory lane on the flu..
Let's assume that your friend needs more convincing on how bad the flu was last year.
Here are some cold hard facts/numbers to digest.
- Since 2003 the CDC has been classifying our flu seasons in regards to severity amongst the different age groups. The 2017-18 season was the first time that all the groups were classified High Severity. New methodology
- The percentage of deaths related to influenza and pneumonia were at epidemic levels for 4 months straight
- Approximately 180 deaths of children due to influenza with over 80% of those kids not being vaccinated
- The Flu has gotten so deadly that the CDC does not account for adults, just goes by estimates
- These states noted the some of the highest flu activity- Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana. Massachusetts, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Virginia
- 290,000-650,000 – the number of deaths attributed to the flu worldwide
- Vaccine effectiveness 40% – As this is not due to a new strain of the virus
- Only 40% of those in American able to get the flu vaccine actually get it.
Early last week a colleague of mines Dr. Sabine Elisee, asked if people were getting the flu vaccine this year and like clockwork the same terrible excuses about why someone wasn't getting it was front and center. Rather than go down the rabbit hole and argue back I figured let me come at from a different angle to see why most health professionals are on the side of getting it.
As the flu season gets underway if you, or your loved ones have ever found a reason to not get the vaccine don't because the numbers don't lie. Not getting the vaccine has had nothing but negative consequences, so don't be apart of the problem, be apart of the solution.