The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today that 45 percent of adults and 46 percent of children have received the flu vaccine up from 39 percent for both children and adults at the same time last year.
But the number is still lower than medical experts would like. Everyone over the age of 6 months is advised to get the flu shot to protect against the disease.
So, have you been waiting to get your influenza vaccine once flu season started in October?
Don’t wait any longer.
“I would say, very clearly, to the person who hasn’t gotten their flu shot yet: You should hustle along. You don’t have to run, but hustle along — get your vaccination this afternoon,” Dr. William Schaffner, infectious disease specialist at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, told Healthline.
“It takes 10 days for protection to build up to maximum in your body. Influenza will be wherever you are in your community — someone has influenza today that could be transmitted to you tomorrow.”
Schaffner’s warnings come now that we are firmly in the thick of the 2018-2019 flu season, which runs until May. Every year, an estimated 5 to 20 percent of the population in the United States will get the flu, according to the CDC.
This year, concern around those who haven’t gotten vaccinated are particularly high because of how bad the previous season was. Over the course of last year, 900,000 people were hospitalized and about 80,000 died from the flu and its complications.
Among the sobering statistics from last year’s flu season is that a record 180 children died.