There are some people who just get it.
“Yes, I have for about the last ten years actually,” says Mickey Curtis.
And others who don’t.
“No, I’m pretty healthy, very rarely get sick and just from the pros and cons that I’ve read about the flu shot I’ve decided not to get it,” says Janet Cauchi.
Despite the public prompting, for people to get the annual flu vaccine, many people don’t. And health experts are seeing the ill effects.
The 2012- 2013 flu season slammed seniors. The hospitalization rate for people 65 and up was the highest since the CDC started tracking the stat in 2005. Experts hoped more of the elderly would take advantage of a new, high-dose vaccine.
“It was first used last year; that was the first year it was available. It has a higher dose of the antigen in it. It helps to boost that immune protection against the flu shot. The thought is that elderly patients don’t have as big of a response against vaccines, so we hope by giving them a bigger dose of the vaccine, that they’ll really activate their immune system,” says Dr. Christina Cavanagh, family practitioner with Lee Memorial Health System.
Here’s how the numbers broke down: The hospitalization rate in the oldest age group was 191 per 100,000 for the past flu season. The previous year it was 66 per 100,000. That’s more than double.
The annual vaccine protects against what are expected to be the most prevalent flu strains. The effectiveness of the high dose vaccine is still under evaluation.
“It helps to provide better protection then the regular flu shot. But we won’t know for the next couple of years if it actually works better,” says Dr. Cavanagh.
What is certain is that your chances of getting the flu are lowered by taking a stab at the flu shot.