Estimated read time: 1-2 minutes
Dr. Kim Mulvihill ReportingA recent report questioned whether vaccinating the elderly against the flu is worth the effort. New research says, without a doubt, seniors should get one.
This season, anyone who wants a flu shot can get one because there will be no shortages and no long lines.
Last week, a study suggested giving flu shots to the elderly does not save lives. This week, a new report says without a doubt, flu shots do. Experts say this study got it right.
Dr. Richard Jacob, infectious disease expert, says, "Absolutely a flu shot. Influenza is a potentially lethal disease in older patients."
Researchers analyzed more than 700,000 seniors over the course of 10 flu seasons. They found the vaccine reduces the risk of hospitalization by 27 percent and the risk of death by 48 percent.
Vaccines work by stocking your immune system to fight against an illness. While the immune response in seniors is not as strong as it used to be, it doesn't mean a vaccine won't offer some protection. Experts say elderly should not question whether to get a flu shot; they should question why is not everyone getting vaccinated?
The vast majority of Americans who should get vaccinated have robust immune systems. They'll get protected so they won't get or give the flu. Jacobs says, "Anyone who comes into contact with the elderly, whether it's health care workers, family, young kids, should all be vaccinated."
Keep in mind that school children are the most likely to get and spread a virus.