The New Supercharged Flu Shot
Here in Los Angeles, the flu shot has been available for quite a while. But just like in years past, I am getting asked whether I believe the shot is really “worth it,” or simply an unnecessary pinprick of pain.
It’s worth it.
The flu shot is developed each year specifically to stave off the kind of “flu season” that leaves half the workforce bedridden and miserable. Because of the phenomenon of herd immunity, the shot helps protect even those who cannot get one, simply by creating a buffer zone too wide for the virus to cross.
This year brings an exciting development as well. Scientists are reporting that they have taken active steps to protect a singularly vulnerable population: seniors. As one article puts it:
Yet despite their unusually high vaccination rates, [seniors] also account for an exceptional portion of flu-related hospitalizations: 90 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
It turns out their bodies are sluggish to react to the standard vaccines that easily rev up a younger person’s immune system.
The latest flu shot is designed specifically to jolt older immune systems into developing the necessary antibodies for fighting the flu. The medical establishment hopes that this will be the year that seniors escape flu season in record numbers, and in better health than years past.