SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (News4Utah) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says don’t delay. Get the flu shot now. Its recommendation is earlier than usual because it could be another devastating flu season.
The CDC is recommending everyone gets vaccinated by Halloween.
“It takes two weeks for that vaccine to be effective to protect that individual. That’s why recommending everyone get the vaccine now, so when the flu arrives in the community, you will be protected,” said Dr. Audrey Stevenson, Division Director of Family Health Services of the Salt Lake Health Department.
It was particularly devastating this past flu season. The CDC says, roughly 700,000 people were hospitalized.180 children died from the flu. Most people were impacted by H3N2 influenza.
The flu kills between 12,000 and 49,000 people in the United States each year.
For those who are wary of the flu shot and skeptical of its efficacy, Dr. Stevenson serves up this analogy:
“When you put on your seat belt it doesn’t guarantee that you’re not going to get into a crash, but what it does, is lessens your chance of getting injured from that crash and it certainly lessens the chance that you’ll die from that. When you get a flu vaccine, I might still get the flu but the chances of dying or getting complications of the flu are much less even if it’s not a perfect match.”
Everyone 6 months and older should be getting the flu vaccine every year. Dr. Stevenson says there are variations of the flu vaccine based on age and medical conditions so she says it’s very important to talk to your doctor about which vaccine would be right for you.