Is the Flu Shot Effective at Preventing the Flu?
Oct 22, 2021
Asking if the flu vaccine is effective in preventing the flu is one of the most searched terms on Google today. We wanted to provide you with statistics and facts on everything related to getting the flu shot to help answer this question. With the COVID-19 vaccine generating the majority of the news, we want to make sure that you are protecting yourself and your body in 2021 and 2022.
What is the Flu?
Flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death.
According to the CDC, 5% to 20% of people will get the flu each year. These numbers vary because of the strain and vaccine impact as well as both symptomatic and asymptomatic influenza illness. Children are most likely to get sick from flu and that people 65 and older are least likely to get sick from influenza.
What Are Flu Symptoms?
Influenza (flu) can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Flu is different from a cold. Flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:
- Fever or feeling feverish/chills
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Fatigue (tiredness)
- Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
It is also important to note that COVID-19 has many of the same symptoms as flu, this is why it is strongly recommended to be tested for COVID-19 if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.
The Flu Shot
Is the Flu Vaccine Effective?
Yes. The flu vaccine is safe and effective.
The CDC recommends people over 6 months old get a flu shot each year. However, in 2019 just half of all Americans got vaccinated. Why? One reason: Despite the scientific data, some people believe the shot just doesn’t work.
Because flu viruses mutate constantly and the vaccine wears off over time, you can’t get vaccinated once and expect to be covered for years, as you can with other diseases. The vaccine must be changed each year, in hopes of matching the ever-mutating viruses. And that’s been a challenge. On average, it’s been 40% effective, meaning it’s prevented illness 40% of the time. Since health officials started tracking it in 2003, effectiveness has varied from year to year, ranging from a low of 10% in 2004-05 to a high of 60% in 2010-11.
Did you know the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines for COVID-19 are roughly 95% effective? Both the flu vaccines and COVID-19 vaccines are considered to be highly effective and safe.
Why Should I Get a Flu Shot?
The flu is a serious illness. When the viruses in the vaccine are a good match with what’s circulating, the vaccine can reduce your risk of having the flu by 40%-60%. And even when the match isn’t great, being vaccinated before you get the flu can help you avoid having a severe case. Numerous studies have shown that the vaccine cuts your risk of having to go to the hospital — and if you are hospitalized, you’re much less likely to be admitted to the intensive care unit.
For children, the vaccine can be life-saving: A study of four flu seasons found that vaccination reduced the risk of death by half for kids with other conditions, and by almost two-thirds among healthy kids.
And much like wearing a mask helps protect those around you from the coronavirus (COVID-19), getting a flu shot may also help safeguard others who are more vulnerable to a severe case, like the very young and old and those with some chronic health conditions.
Flu Shot Near Me
Get A Flu Shot Near Me
Flu shots are highly available at doctor’s offices, health clinics, national pharmacies, and other locations. Some places will allow walk-ins while others prefer to schedule. If you are searching for a flu shot in Wichita, KS, schedule an appointment at HealthCore Clinic. Our staff is highly experienced with the flu vaccine and often hailed as the gentlest adminstrators of vaccines.
If you are still asking yourself, “Is the flu shot effective?” Schedule a consultation with a member of our medical team to discuss the flu vaccine, ask questions, and get resources. We are happy to speak with you so you can make the decision that you feel is best for you and your family.