How effective is the flu shot?

Sep 20, 2021, 11:00:00 AM

One of the reasons people choose not to get a flu shot each year is because they believe it is not effective. The flu virus changes from season to season which makes it challenging to guarantee its effectiveness. Recent CDC studies show a flu vaccine reduces the risk of getting the flu between 40%-60% among the overall population.   Learn more about the CDC flu vaccine effectiveness here.

 The CDC measures a vaccines effectiveness by using the following criteria:

  • Ability to prevent flu-related trips to the doctor

    • Limiting the need for hospitalization

    • Ability to protect against identified seasonal strains

    • Ability to protect different age groups from flu

    • Ability to protect special populations from flu

Effectiveness of flu vaccines in elderly and children

According to the CDC, if you are 65 or older, getting a flu vaccine reduces the risk of a medically attended illness caused by the flu virus by 60% and the risk of flu hospitalizations by 54%. If an elderly person has a weaker immune system, getting vaccinated against the flu can decrease the chances of becoming seriously ill, hospitalization, or even death.

Flu vaccination in children has been found to provide a similar level of protection against flu illness as seen in healthy adults. For children up to 8 years old it is recommended they receive 2 doses of flu vaccine the first time they are vaccinated against the flu (each dose should be separated by 4 weeks). 

Even if you are healthy and don’t usually get sick from the flu, it is important to receive your flu shot.  Receiving a flu shot not only protects you, but also those around you.  If you are around people 65 or older, people with weakened immune systems, or children, you should get your flu shot to protect them as well as yourself.

For more information on how vaccine effectiveness is measured, visit the CDC website here.

Visit any pharmacy for a flu shot today, no appointment needed. To keep everyone safe, we have implemented new safety measures this year:

  1. All patients getting a flu shot are asked to wear a mask
  2. Please take a moment to complete the intake form here prior to coming to the pharmacy. Click to download.