INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-- Health officials are once again asking Hoosiers to get a flu shots after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported a recent surge in flu-like illnesses.
However, when it comes to the flu vaccine, the public just can’t seem to agree.
According to the CDC, only about half of Americans, 47 percent over the age of 6 months, got the flu shot during the 2014-2015 season. Just recently, the CDC announced the number of reported flu cases spiked in the last few weeks of 2016.
Skeptics have often questioned the effectiveness of the vaccine, and some people even swear that getting the shot only guarantees that they’ll in turn get the flu.
A infectious disease physician for IU Health wants to ensure the public that that’s not the case.
“We still think that’s a very smart thing to do, protect your family from the flu,” Dr. Douglass Webb said.
Webb says while it’s true that the flu vaccine isn’t a silver bullet for stopping the virus, it is the best weapon we have against it today.
“The scientific community has tried to address concerns that the public has had about efficacy and about using the best vaccines for each patient population—and i think this year is a good example of that,” he said.
The CDC says the vaccine can reduce the risk of flu to the general population by about 60 percent. Webb says that’s especially important when you consider that people with the virus can often give it to others.
“As health care workers, we have all of our workers as best we can get vaccinated against the flu so we don’t pass it on to our patients,” he said.
Webb says it’s also important to remember that no one is invincible or immune to flu, and that includes healthy adults who can be less likely to get the vaccine.
“Just because you’ve gone all these years where you’ve been fortunate and haven’t had as severe illness of flu that landed you in the hospital doesn’t mean that this year you might not," warned Webb.