Don’t forget to get your flu shot

According to the FluView report for the week ending January 1, influenza activity has picked up over the last few weeks in the United States. This increase in activity is typical of the start of flu season. The number of states reporting regional or widespread influenza activity increased. Although influenza activity can rise and fall during an influenza season, activity in the United States generally peaks in January or later in most years.

CDC

Of concern: Britain is experiencing a bit of a spike in flu cases and flu deaths, and it is thought that the “swine flu” H1N1 version that emerged last season is responsible for that. There is concern that this will spread across the European continent. I have no idea what this may mean for the US, Asia or elsewhere.

Comments

  1. #1 LarianLeQuella
    January 13, 2011

    Yes, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE get your flu shot. I hate reading about children that have died from this preventable disease: http://vaccinesandevolution.blogspot.com/2011/01/vaccine-times-vaccine-preventable-death.html

    And as I pointed out to a co-worker, having a “strong immune system” can actually be a detriment. The way that H1N1 seems to work, it’s the over-reaction of your immune system that can cause problems, hence why young and healthy folks seem to suffer disproportionatly with this one.

    And to counter the anti-vax pro-disease lies, I suggest you read http://factsnotfantasy.com/vaccines.php for better info.

  2. #3 Garrett
    January 13, 2011

    MGH is offering monetary incentive for partners employees if we achieve a certain percentage of employees that get the shot. Got mine.

  3. #4 Russell
    January 13, 2011

    The question is, does it work?

    http://www.lakelandtimes.com/main.asp?SectionID=9&SubSectionID=9&ArticleID=12400

    I feel a bit sorry for that poor epidemiologist, because anyone today who raises questions about the efficacy of the flu vaccine is inevitably going to get lumped with the nuts who think childhood vaccines cause autism. But an epidemiologists gotta do what epidemiologists do.

  4. #5 Fuzzbutt
    January 13, 2011

    If only the flu was a once-and-done thing. I had it at Halloween. Need to get that shot already.

  5. #6 Greg Laden
    January 13, 2011

    Russel, the study referred to shows the following:

    In years when there is a good match between vaccine and flu, your chance of getting the flu is 300% higher if you are not vaccinated. In years when the match is poor, your chance of getting the flu is double if you are not vaccinated. In between years are, unsurprisingly, in between.

    In other words, the flu vaccine is effective in preventing flu infections.

    The way the study is described, however, is the following:

    In good years, if you are not vaccinated you have a 4% chance of getting the flu, but if vaccinated, you have a 1% chance, for a mere three percent difference. Same sort of description for poor years.

    So yes, Cochrane and this particular reporter are crackpot antivaxers, not tribunes of a hidden truth.

    Get your flu shot.

    It is, of course, true that the flu vaccine is overall pretty crappy for a vaccine. It would sure be nice to get something that works better, but in the mean time we’ve got to go for the marked reduction in infections and if enough people get vaccinated, we can get even better numbers because in order to get the flu you have to be exposed to someone who has it. Which, statistically speaking, is mainly the unvaccinated.

  6. #7 gwen
    January 14, 2011

    Got mine at work. As a nurse, it is state law in California. If I decided not to get it, I have to fill out a form. Got my family vaccinated too, just like I do every year.. :)

  7. #8 dean
    January 14, 2011

    “In good years, if you are not vaccinated you have a 4% chance of getting the flu, but if vaccinated, you have a 1% chance, for a mere three percent difference. ”

    I would say this: the difference is three [b] percentage points [/b], and the change from 1% to 4% is still a 300% increase.

  8. #9 Greg Laden
    January 14, 2011

    The antivaxers tend to say that there is a mere three percent difference.

  9. #10 dean
    January 14, 2011

    The antivaxers tend to say that there is a mere three percent difference.”

    Yes they would – somehow I missed that as the message of your earlier post. I would give my comment as a response.

  10. #11 dean
    January 14, 2011

    The antivaxers tend to say that there is a mere three percent difference.”

    Yes they would – somehow I missed that as the message of your earlier post. I would give my comment as a response.

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