Everyday it’s a new headline. The numbers keep rising. No, we’re not talking about the latest lottery jackpot. We’re talking about one of the worst flu seasons in nearly 10 years. But it’s not too late to protect yourself with a flu vaccine – and here’s why you should:
“The negatives of a flu shot are almost nonexistent, and significant side effects are very rare. Even in an ineffective year, the benefits greatly outweigh the harms. The [CDC] estimates that 9 million to 36 million people become ill with the flu each year in the United States. Somewhere between 140,000 and 710,000 of them require hospitalization, and 12,000 to 56,000 die each year,” the New York Times reports.
This messy flu season is not only impacting individuals and families, though. Businesses across the nation can expect to see billions of dollars in lost productivity as a result of employees falling ill. One recent estimate predicted that 11 million Americans will fall ill this season, at a cost to their employers of over $9 billion in sick leave.
As we’ve pointed out before, vaccines have tremendous societal value, responsible for saving more than 730,000 children over the past 20 years in the U.S. Another study found that the vaccination of children born in the United States in 2009 is projected to generate $184 billion in lifetime social value – or about $45,000 per child.
If you’re still not convinced, data from the CDC confirms the benefits of getting a flu shot. In fact, it’s estimated that number of flu hospitalizations prevented by vaccination during the 2015-2016 season was more than 70,000, while over 5 million cases of illness were prevented. And if you’re wondering how widespread influenza is in your state or region of the country, check out this map for details.
While every flu season is slightly different, getting vaccinated is still the best way to prevent a few sick days on the couch or a trip to the hospital. As flu season continues on its path of destruction, help protect yourself and those around you by getting vaccinated.