U.S. health officials urged more Americans on Thursday to get vaccinated against influenza for the upcoming flu season, adding there was plenty of vaccine on hand.
I’ve heard every excuse in the book and I’m not buying it. Getting an influenza vaccine is safe and effective. It is simple (we can squirt it in your nose!) and cheap (your insurance should cover it). It prevents you from getting a dreadful infection. But you are not just getting it for your benefit. Flu vaccine protects other people around you who cannot get it, like children with severe egg allergies and infants under 6 months old. Your children go to school every day with other kids who are at high risk for getting terribly sick from influenza: classmates with asthma, with cancer, with chronic medical conditions, with Down Syndrome, with diabetes, with conditions you’ve never heard of. Their teachers may be at high risk, too, from similar illnesses or from pregnancy. Another high-risk group you may not think about are those people and families with children — friends and neighbors — who are uninsured. Many will not get a flu vaccine this season, even though local health departments will provide them free of charge.
Ian Simpson at Reuters describes how we’re doing:
The overall U.S. vaccination rate for the last flu season was steady at about 42 percent, according to CDC numbers released at the conference.
The figure is well below target rates of 80 percent for people between 6 months and 65 years and 90 percent for those over 65. Vaccine recommendations were expanded to all healthy adults two years ago.
Vaccination rates varied widely, with children between 6 months and 23 months at 75 percent, falling to just over a third among adolescents, the CDC said. About 39 percent of adults were vaccinated.
We’re all in this together. We really are. Please get an influenza vaccine for you and your family. Call our offices and we can make it happen.