The flu shot doesn’t work

influenza hospitalization

I’ve seen a few kids this season who have influenza despite the fact that they had the vaccine. When the family hears that the flu test is positive (or that symptoms are consistent with influenza and testing isn’t done), they often say they won’t do the flu shot again because it didn’t work.

flu shot ineffectiveHow do they know it isn’t working?

Influenza can be deadly.

Most of the kids I’ve seen with flu who have had the shot aren’t that sick. Yes, they have a fever and cough. They aren’t well.

But they’re not in the hospital.

They’re not dying.

They tend to get better faster than those who have unvaccinated influenza.

Some kids still get very sick with influenza despite the vaccine.

That’s why there’s surveillance to see how it’s working.

When FluMist was determined to not be effective, it was removed from the market.

Studies are underway to make a new type of flu vaccine that should be more effective.

We know the shot isn’t perfect, but it’s better than nothing.

Maybe if you weren’t vaccinated you’d be a lot sicker.

Maybe you were exposed to another strain of flu and didn’t get sick at all.

I think it’s still worth it to get vaccinated each year (until they come up with a vaccine that lasts several seasons).

If everyone who’s eligible gets vaccinated against the flu, herd immunity kicks in and it doesn’t spread as easily. Historically only around 40% of people are vaccinated each year against influenza. We know that to get herd immunity we need much higher numbers.

Shot fears…

If your kids are scared of shots, check out Vaccines Don’t Have to Hurt As Much As Some Fear.

Don’t rely on Tamiflu to treat flu symptoms once you’ve gotten sick.

Tamiflu really isn’t that great of a treatment. It hasn’t been shown to decrease hospitalization or complication rates. It shortens the course by about a day. It has side effects and can be expensive. During flu outbreaks it can be hard to find.

Prevention’s the best medicine.

Learn 12 TIMELY TIPS FOR COLD AND FLU VIRUS PREVENTION.

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Author: DrStuppy

I am a pediatrician and mother of two teens. I have a passion for sharing health related information.

4 thoughts on “The flu shot doesn’t work”

    1. Not too late! The season lasts until April and kids can be re-exposed several times. Even kids who have the flu can get it again in the same season. Finding them can be hard now though… I know my office has run out of the flu vaccine at times this season – we’ve ordered more and then run out again. We only have flu vaccine for 6-36 month olds now. The news has made parents want the shot now even when they declined it earlier this year.

  1. You are correct. Articles in the last few days mention that the antiviral prescription, Tamiflu, might shorten the course the illness by two-thirds of a day. Hmmmm…almost 16 hours. Not much! Yes it is expensive and yes, the side effects are sometimes ugly. Nice posting on your blog Dr. Stuppy! Thanks.

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