Flu Shot Pros and Cons

by Thomas Hague

syringe-30012_640If the Ebola scare wasn’t frightening enough, scientist predict a particularly bad flu season this year. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) this year’s flu vaccination has proven less effective. This year’s flu will result in more illnesses and hospitalizations then previous seasons. This has people considering flu shot pros and cons.

So what went wrong, and can anything be done at this point? Based on data collected from strains circulating around the world, a panel of experts selected three common virus strains for this year’s flu shot ingredients back in February. Production had already started when a mutation in the H3N2 virus occurred this past March. Since it takes scientists, on average, four months to create a vaccine it was too late to take a different course by the time the mutation was identified.

Not only is this year’s vaccine less effective, but the mutation is also particularly aggressive.  According to scientists, this mutation may cause a harsher flu season for those infected. However, doctors stress a less then effective immunization is no excuse for skipping out on your flu shot.  If anything, it should be more of an incentive for you to get vaccinated. Doctors still stress that flu shot pros and cons are very important to consider.

How Long Does the Flu Shot Last

Despite below average effectiveness rates, doctors still urge patients to get vaccinated, especially the elderly. How long the flu lasts in your system, and its severity can be greatly reduced by this year’s vaccine. How long the flu shot lasts also depends on your immune system. Exposing your immune system to the vaccine is still the best protection you have against the mutant strain, and spreading it to others.

For comparison, last year’s vaccination process was considered a good match and was rated to be between 47 and 57 percent  effective for children and adults. However, patients still had a 44 to 61 percent chance of getting the flu. Even in ideal conditions, vaccinations are not a guarantee.  However, getting vaccinated is consider by most health professionals to be the best option we have. The best advice is to consider your options and talk to your doctor or other trusted health care professional to make an informed decision about getting vaccinated.