Your best defense against the flu this season is getting the flu shot and yet new numbers reveal that only 40 percent of Americans have received it. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted that the number of people who got a flu shot this year is very similar to last year’s tally.
The Director at the CDC, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, explained, “We are glad to see that people are making the decision to protect themselves and their families from flu, but coverage is still low and we urge people to get vaccinated if they haven’t already done so. We have a tool that is proven to prevent flu illness and hospitalization, but millions of people are not taking advantage of it. Too many people are unprotected.”
Last year’s numbers revealed that the flu shot helped prevent around five million cases of the flu and also prevented 71,000 flu-related hospitalizations.
Dr. Joe Bresee, a pediatrician at the CDC, said, “We are urging parents to make sure their children get a flu shot this season, as the nasal spray vaccine is not recommended for the 2016-2017 flu season. An annual flu vaccine is very important protection for children.”
Dr. Messonnier continued, “About a third of people ages 50 to 64 have medical conditions that put them at high risk of serious flu complications; and we know that declining immune function puts people 65+ people and older at high risk. While flu vaccination is recommended for everyone 6 months and older, it’s especially important that people in high-risk groups get vaccinated.”
There has been an increase in flu vaccinations among pregnant women seen this year compared to last year and there isn’t much of a change among healthcare providers. Dr. Messonnier concluded, “It is really important that health care workers get vaccinated and especially important that we continue to make progress vaccinating health care workers who work in long-term care facilities. Many of the most frail and vulnerable people live in these facilities and we know that vaccinating their caregivers helps protect them.”