Flu shot report card-2013 (Article)

The stats are in for this year’s flu vaccine. The Center for Disease Control published its early estimate of how effective the flu vaccine is this year. Their data indicate the vaccine reduces a vaccinated child’s or adult’s chance of getting sick with the flu by 62%. Historically, on average, flu vaccine reduces one’s chance of getting sick with the flu by 50%. The experts had a pretty good year. Sure, there are children who get the vaccine and still get the flu, but on average their chances are 62% less if they were vaccinated. Everyone wishes we had a 100% effective vaccine, but that will probably never happen. The CDC estimates that by the end of flu season, 135,000,000 doses of vaccine will be given to both children and adults. 62% fewer cases of flu most assuredly means fewer sick children, fewer cases of dehydration and pneumonia, fewer prescriptions for antibiotics, fewer doctor visits, and most importantly, fewer deaths, especially among children and elderly citizens. So you can see, while getting a flu shot has a moderate chance of improving your odds against the flu every winter, it has a huge impact on reducing our overall healthcare costs and burden of disease, hence the experts’ relentless efforts to get everyone vaccinated every fall and winter. Speaking of flu, there is some more good news that just broke: some genius has figured out how to produce an effective flu vaccine without growing the virus in egg or even having any whole virus in the vaccine. Thus, some of the new vaccines coming in the future will not have egg, will not have any virus that can make anyone sick, and will have no preservative. Hooray!

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