Opinion: Flu shots advised for those at greatest risk—the elderly

by | Oct 4, 2018 | Opinion

Drug stores have had signs heralding the 2018-19 Flu Season for weeks. Meanwhile, if you’ve visited your doctor recently, he or she has most likely reminded you to get your flu shots in a timely fashion this year.

However, notes the Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC], there continues to be widespread reluctance, based on indifference and fear, among Americans to be immunized against the flu. Most years only about half of those who should seek protection get a flu shot. As a result, too many at risk individuals, including elderly Americans, succumb to influenza and too many of them die.

Last year’s flu season was exceptionally long. It lasted from October 1, 2017 and continued until nearly the end of April 2018 and caused some 30,453 laboratory-confirmed hospitalizations of flu victims, most of whom were 65 years old or older, according to the Centers for Disease Control [CDC].  

So, why don’t more of us embrace the flu vaccine as an established preventive measure?

AMAC suggests that the “myths” about the flu shot may have something to do with it. Perhaps the most senseless misconception people might have is that they need not be vaccinated every year to be protected. The most important reason for getting a shot every year is the simple fact that in the course of a year the vaccine loses its effectiveness. In addition, the makeup of the flu virus, itself, changes each year so a new vaccine needs to be produced annually. And, that is why the CDC strongly recommends that, ideally, everyone, six months old and older should be immunized at the onset of flu season.

AMAC is particularly focused on encouraging America’s seniors to get a flu shot pointing out that 58 percent of all those who had to be hospitalized due to influenza last year were over 65 years of age. In fact, the CDC even underscores the need for older Americans to be vaccinated because they are at higher risk of developing serious complications from flu. There’s even a special version of the vaccine especially designed for seniors. It’s a high-dose vaccine that contains four times the amount of antigen contained in a regular shot.

The CDC says that the high-dose vaccine was tested in a massive clinical trial in which there were 30,000 participants. The trial proved the effectiveness of the high-dose version of the vaccine among the 65-plus set. Those seniors who received the high dose vaccine “had 24 percent fewer influenza infections as compared to those who received the standard dose flu vaccine.”

Most physicians will tell you that if you are among the skeptics when it comes to flu shots, you need to focus on the facts, not the myths. And, if the truth about the flu be told, it will be told by the Centers for Disease Control, which says get a flu shot as early as you can in the season because it is not just the best way to help protect you.

 

For more stories like this, see the Oct. 4 issue or subscribe online.

 

By The Association of Mature American Citizens

0 Comments

Related News

We’re global now

We’re global now

No matter how hard we try, we real­ly can’t avoid one another. We live in a world where what takes place some­where else on the globe has a very good chance of affecting us, along with many others. The pandemic, of course, is a useful – if sobering – ex­ample. A virus...

read more
Legislators can help prevent trafficking

Legislators can help prevent trafficking

The COVID-19 pan­demic has produced too many tragedies to tally, but here is one that does not get talked about enough: It has worsened conditions that leave children and youth especially vulnerable to com­mercial sexual exploitation, a human trafficking crime. Human...

read more
Texans urged to roll up their sleeves

Texans urged to roll up their sleeves

Gov. Greg Abbott and other Texas leaders are rolling up their sleeves to get the COVID-19 vaccine and to encourage the public to follow suit. “I will never ask any Texan to do something that I’m not willing to do myself,” Abbott said before getting vaccinated at a...

read more
Accusations rock Attorney General’s office

Accusations rock Attorney General’s office

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is battling back against seven top aides who accuse him of bribery and abuse of office. The aides delivered the accu­sations in a letter to the agency’s human resources director. The Austin American-Statesman and KVUE-TV obtained and...

read more
Pandemic messes with Texas, prompts new message

Pandemic messes with Texas, prompts new message

Even during a pandemic, it’s best to not mess with Texas. Texas Department of Trans­portation officials noticed more personal protective equipment -- face masks, wipes and gloves -- on the side of roads and high­ways, so they called in the big guns for a new round of...

read more
School year brings an Apple for students, too

School year brings an Apple for students, too

Students across Texas returned to campuses last week as schools and universities scrambled to put into place new lesson plans that best accommodate a pandemic. For many school districts, this meant greatly expanding the technological resources of their students to...

read more
Texas tries nation’s first virtual criminal trial

Texas tries nation’s first virtual criminal trial

A Texan’s speeding ticket put her in the legal history books last week. To combat the backlog in criminal cases created by the pandemic, a Travis County justice of the peace conducted the nation’s first virtual criminal trial. The case was livestreamed on YouTube, and...

read more
This is a time of testing for all of us

This is a time of testing for all of us

A few weeks ago, The New York Times ran an article noting that with the U.S. preoccupied by the coronavirus pandemic, Black Lives Matter protests, and massive unemployment, “its competitors are moving to fill the vacuum, and quickly.” Russia, China, North Korea, Iran....

read more