DETROIT (WWJ) – As flu season begins across the U.S. concerns, are being raised about the effectiveness of the vaccine.
So should you even bother getting a flu shot?
Experts say this year’s flu shot might only be 10 percent effective against a prevalent strain of the virus: influenza A, or H3N2. That’s based on a new study looking at Australia’s flu season which just ended.
Speaking to WWJ Health Reporter Dr. Deanna Lites, Dr. Shaun Jayakar — a family medicine specialist from St. John Hospital in Detroit — said it’s too soon to draw these conclusions.
“Using data from Australia, we don’t know that’s going to necessarily translate to America, or even Michigan,” Jayakar said.”It’s important that everyone gets their flu shot to reduce the chance of them getting sick, and even if they do get sick, they won’t get as sick.”
That said, doctors believe the fact that Australia had a bad flu season this year likely means the U.S. will, too.
Flu can be a very serious illness, and complications are usually more common in young children, older adults, pregnant women, and people with chronic health conditions.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says these vaccines are safe, and it continues to recommend that everyone age 6 months old and older get vaccinated every year. While some of the viruses spreading this season are different from those in the vaccine, vaccination can still provide protection and might reduce severe outcomes such as hospitalization and even death.
You can prevent transmission of the flu virus by taking the following precautions:
• Staying home from work when sick
• Keeping sick children home from school
• Washing hands often
• Covering coughs and sneezes
• Disinfecting frequently touched surfaces
The flu vaccine is typically available at your family doctor’s office and is covered by Medicare, Medicaid and most other health insurance providers. Michiganders can get a walk-in vaccine at a CVS Pharmacy Minute Clinic , or at a Kroger Pharmacy or Meijer Pharmacy near you. [Find out where else you can get a flu shot].
Get more information about the flu from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services at this link.