Flu Shot This Year Is 36 Percent Effective

After months of breaking arms over a 10% vaccine against a single influenza strain in Australia, we finally have data on how this is happening in the United States this season. It is 36 percent effective in preventing influenza in humans as a whole, and 59 percent in children under 8. These numbers are small , but they are damn better than zero.

Quick facts to share with your local belly specialist: The flu shot is free with insurance (including at network pharmacies) and the side effects are rare and usually minor. Even if you are young and healthy, there are more benefits than risks. This means that if you do get the flu, it probably won’t knock you out as badly as if you didn’t get the vaccine. And, perhaps more importantly, it means you are less likely to pass on any flu germs to more vulnerable people in your life, such as grandparents and children, and to the woman who received chemotherapy last week who was next to you on the subway.

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