This years flu vaccine has proved less effective than expected or desired. The official numbers have placed the effectiveness of this year’s flu vaccine at 23 percent leaving many doubtful and not to mention sick. While consumers may be tempted to pass up the vaccine next time around, there are some facts that are important for understanding the importance of the flu vaccine.
Each year scientist from the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases work to develop flu vaccines for the upcoming flu season. These scientist work to develop vaccines for the most common strains of the influenza virus that are infecting people throughout the world. Scientists must track the flu virus strains as they mutate and spread throughout the world in each regions differing flu season in order to predict which strains will be most common when flu seasons hit the US. This year’s vaccine was less effective because the most common strain that is infecting people today was not predicted months ago when scientists were developing the vaccine.
Despite the lack of absolute certainty when it comes to the flu vaccine’s capability to protect against the flu, there are many reasons why taking the flu shot is better than leaving it up to chance. The CDC has estimated that in 2010 the flu was responsible for killing about 52,000 Americans. While the flu is not lethal to the majority of people in good health, segments of the population, children, the elderly, those with chronic conditions, and pregnant women, could be placed at greater risk as a result of mild illnesses in loved ones and strangers. The flu also has many side effects that could leave people infected with the virus with long lasting complications.