To Vax or Not to Vax?
Like it or not, the flu season is in full swing and along with it the great debate over whether or not to receive the flu vaccine rages on. While perusing my twitter feed today, I came across a number of tweets by Dr. Tom Frieden (@DrFriedenCDC), the Director of the CDC in which he exhorts the general public to receive the vaccine. In this blog post I will present both sides of the argument and encourage you to make the best decision for yourself and your loved ones.
In the United States, annual vaccination against seasonal influenza is recommended for all persons aged >/= 6 months . Every year, the flu season is particularly hard on younger- and middle-aged adults and this year is no different. People age 18-64 represented 61% of all hospitalizations from influenza . This statistic hits especially close to home due to the fact that my wife and I both fall into that demographic. As evidence for receiving the flu vaccine, the CDC cites statistical analysis of each season’s vaccine. During each flu season since 2004-2005, the CDC has estimated the effectiveness of that season’s vaccine at preventing influenza- associated, medically attended acute respiratory illness (ARI) . As of February 21st, 2014 the CDC estimates an effectiveness of 61% against the major flu virus strain detected, the 2009 H1N1.
Compelling arguments against receiving the vaccine can be found in a 2013 NY Times article entitled, “Myths About the Flu Vaccine” by Jane E. Brody as well as in the comments section. First, the flu virus in circulation changes from year to year and there is no guarantee that the virus that the vaccine is designed to prevent will be effective against a new
While I have made the personal choice to receive the vaccine, ultimately it is up to you to make the best educated decision that you can regarding whether or not to be vaccinated. The internet is a treasure trove of information which I encourage you to utilize along with your health care provider, whether homeopath or allopath, before you come to a conclusion.