It’s getting late into December, just a week before Christmas, and one thing is for certain:  It’s not too late for a flu vaccine! David Beasley reminds us that the vaccine really works to protect recipients from a truly dreadful — and for some, deadly — illness:

Flu shots reduced the number of U.S. flu cases and hospitalizations last year by an estimated 17 percent, highlighting the need for increasing vaccination rates, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Thursday.

Vaccinations prevented more than six million cases of the flu and 79,000 hospitalizations, according to a CDC model that compared the actual number of flu cases and hospitalizations with the projected number that would have occurred had there been no vaccinations.

“This is by far the largest number of hospitalizations and other illnesses we’ve seen prevented” since 2005, said CDC Director Thomas Frieden.

Young children and elderly people benefited the most from the flu vaccine, making up more than two-thirds of those who avoided hospital stays, the CDC said.


That’s pretty impressive protection from a simple vaccine!  And it could even be better:

Fewer than half of U.S. residents ages six months and older were vaccinated for the flu last year. The CDC said an additional 30,000 hospital visits could have been avoided if the vaccination rate had been 70 percent.


“Fewer than half of U.S. residents… were vaccinated last year.”  Is anyone else astonished by that number?  When it comes to preventing a serious illness like influenza, getting a flu shot is a no-brainer.  Getting a flu vaccine is as easy as buying a gallon of milk or a package of gum — just walk into your local grocery store or pharmacy and roll up your sleeve.  Or call your own doctor (and schedule your annual check up while you’re at it!).  OR CALL YOUR PEDIATRICIAN’S OFFICE to bring your kids in for a flu shot or FluMist!

Protect yourself.  Protect your friends, your classmates, and your co-workers.  Protect your loved-ones.

It’s not too late to get a flu vaccine.  In another month, cases of flu will probably be starting to peak.  You don’t want to take chances like this if you don’t have to.  Trust me.  You really don’t.