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Even When Flu Shots Aren’t Very Effective, They Still Save Lives

You may have heard that the 2017–2018 flu vaccine wasn’t very effective at protecting against the flu. However, that doesn’t mean you should skip the shot this year.

Even when a flu vaccine isn’t as effective as it could be, making sure as many people as possible get vaccinated still saves lives. That’s according to a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Vaccinating 43 Percent of Americans Could Save 62,000 Lives

For the study, researchers used a mathematical model to predict the impact of vaccinating large numbers of people even when a flu vaccine isn’t very effective.

They found that if 43 percent of Americans got vaccinated with a low-efficacy vaccine, it would still prevent about:

  • 21 million people from getting sick

  • 130,000 hospitalizations

  • 62,000 deaths

Flu Shot Is Especially Important for People Younger than Age 40

The flu vaccine is the number one way to protect against the flu, so it’s important to get vaccinated each year. The vaccine changes annually depending on which viruses scientists believe will be most common during the upcoming flu season.

While everyone ages 6 months and older should get vaccinated, the PNAS study suggests it’s especially crucial for school-age children and young adults ages 30 to 39. The flu is most likely to spread among this group. By getting the shot, you’ll protect yourself, your family, and older adults who are at higher risk for serious flu-related complications.

© 2000-2019 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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