NOV 29, 2015 2:22 PM PST

Many Think the Flu Shot is Unnecessary

WRITTEN BY: Kerry Evans
A study conducted by NPR and Truven Health Analytics found that most Americans don’t think they need the flu vaccine.  

Among 3,000 people polled, 48% didn’t think the vaccine was necessary for them, 16% were concerned about side effects, 14% thought the shot would give them the flu, and 8% though it was ineffective.  

The flu virus kills nearly 25,000 people a year in the United States, and hospitalizes nearly 200,000. Those numbers alone should convince people to get vaccinated!  The virus causes symptoms such as fever, muscle pain, headache, cough, and even viral pneumonia.  On top of these not-so-fun symptoms, flu worsen chronic conditions like asthma and heart disease - 50% of adults hospitalized for flu last season had heart disease.   
 
Many people don't think they need the flu vaccine.

There are essentially two types of flu vaccines - a shot containing inactive virus, and a nasal spray containing live, but weakened virus.  The shots are either trivalent or quadrivalent, meaning they protect against three, or four strains of virus, respectively.  This year’s nasal spray protects against four strains (quadrivalent).  

Be it by shot or nasal spray, I'll leave you with two reasons to get vaccinated.  First, it will decrease your chances of getting the flu.  I mean, who wants the flu?  It’s not just “a cold”, it’s a serious illness with potentially serious complications.  Second, when you get vaccinated, you are less likely to pass the virus to your friends and family, a phenomenon known as herd immunity.  Even if you don’t mind getting the flu, they might!
 

Sources: NPR, CDC, vaccines.gov, Wikipedia
About the Author
  • Kerry received a doctorate in microbiology from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.
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