The flu vaccine is common enough, but there are still many people who aren’t getting one. Should you be lining up?
In a word – yes. According to federal health agency recommendations, pretty much anyone over the age of 6 months should get the shot this winter season. While this is a very simple, black and white answer, many Americans are skipping this step in their healthcare due to widespread misconceptions about the vaccine.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) “between five percent and 20 percent of American people get the flu every year and an average of 200,000 people are hospitalized annually due to flu related symptoms. Many of those sicknesses and hospitalizations could be avoided if more people got vaccinated.”
In response to these numbers, the National Consumers League recently did a study and uncovered how few Americans are getting the vaccine and why they’re choosing to forgo the shot. Here are a few:
- “One in five Americans say they have not received the flu vaccine because they do not believe the flu is a serious illness. The flu is a serious illness and results in deaths every year. While adults over 65, children under two, and people with serious medical conditions have the highest risk of suffering additional complications after getting the flu, everyone can succumb to flu-related symptoms that result in hospitalization or death. From 2004-2008, 830 children died from flu-related complications, 43 percent of those children had no high-risk medical condition.
- One in five parents do not get vaccinated because they fear the vaccine can give them the flu. According to the CDC, the flu vaccine CANNOT give you the flu. Medical professionals universally agree that the flu vaccination is safe and the best chance Americans have to avoid contracting the virus. The most likely side effects are soreness, redness, tenderness, or swelling where the shot was administered.
- Of the Americans who do not get vaccinated, 45 percent cited their good health as a rationale for bypassing vaccination. Prior to 2010 the CDC recommended only young children, seniors, and people with serious medical conditions get vaccinated. In 2010, however, CDC changed their guidelines and now recommends that everyone, including Americans age 18-49 who are healthy, receive the vaccine annually.
- Only 44 percent of parents say their children have been vaccinated. This number is too low. The NCL survey revealed that among parents, the flu ranks second only to meningitis as the disease parents are most worried their child may contract. Recently, New York City announced a new provision requiring children who attend preschool or day care to be vaccinated to avoid spreading the disease to others in close proximity.”
So tell us, are you planning to get vaccinated this year? For more information, you can visit the CDC’s site and click here to see the full results of NCL’s survey. Whatever you decide to do, please stay healthy and stay informed!
Source: National Consumers League
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