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9 reasons to get a flu shot now

March 7, 2018—This year's flu vaccine may only be 36 percent effective overall, but that doesn't mean you should skip it.

Here are nine reasons it's still a good idea to get a flu shot, with numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • The shot's 36 percent effectiveness means that it prevents more than 1 out of every 3 flu cases among the vaccinated. So if you get the shot, you have a better chance of avoiding the misery of the flu.
  • Among those who receive the shot, it is estimated to prevent nearly 7 out of 10 cases of the flu from the H1N1 strain of the virus currently circulating.
  • For H3N2—the most dominant and severe of the strains of the virus circulating—the shot prevents flu for 1 out of every 4 people vaccinated.
  • The shot is effective for about 3 out of every 5 vaccinated children ages 6 months through 8 years old. Young children are one of the most vulnerable groups when it comes to flu complications.
  • If you get the shot and still end up catching the flu, you're likely to be less sick than if you didn't get the shot at all.
  • When you get vaccinated against the flu, the people around you are less likely to get the flu. That includes infants younger than 6 months, who are too young for a flu shot.
  • Older people who get the flu shot may be less likely to be hospitalized and die from flu complications.
  • One death is prevented for every 4,000 people who get a flu shot, according to one study.
  • The flu has been particularly severe and widespread across the country this year, and the season isn't over yet. In fact, the flu season can last until May.

So while 36 percent might sound low, the vaccine is still worthwhile—and likely saving many lives. If you've put yours off, make an appointment to roll up your sleeve.

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