While COVID may have grabbed the headlines over the past few years, the flu is still making its most unwelcome annual rounds. Pre-COVID, rates of flu ranged between 29-41 million cases each year in the United States.
Since flu season is upon us, our team at Michael Bazel, M.D., with three greater Los Angeles area locations, wants to underscore the importance of protecting yourself against the flu through immunizations.
In this blog, we explore why this annual shot is far more than just a stab in the dark and offers very real protection.
Research behind the flu vaccine
Thanks to COVID, most of us are now familiar with how viruses like the flu change and adapt, as needed. It’s best to appreciate this virus as a living organism that has a will to survive. In fact, most of us — animals, plants, humans, and viruses — are programmed for survival, and the flu is no different.
So, when the flu encounters a hurdle, such as a vaccine, it figures out a way to get around this protection because the only way the virus survives is if it finds a host and multiplies. This is why new strains of influenza make their rounds each year.
Tracking all of this are 142 national influenza centers in 113 different countries around the world. These centers collect massive amounts of data about the flu from every corner of the earth and then report their findings to five different World Health Organizations, including our own CDC.
Scientists and researchers from each of these five centers meet twice a year to figure out what the new flu strain is likely to be. Once they agree, they send this information off to manufacturers to create the vaccine for the year.
So, each time you receive a flu vaccine, know that thousands of hours of research by scores of scientists are behind that immunization.
As a result of this hard work, each annual flu vaccine is far from a guess, which is why it’s 40%-60% effective.
Getting your flu vaccine
To avail yourself of great flu protection this year, we welcome you to visit any of our clinics during operating hours for a flu shot.
Flu shots are appropriate for most every family member over the age of six months, including women who are pregnant. We also emphasize the flu shot for anyone who is more at risk, such as infants and the elderly, as well as anyone who has a pre-existing health condition that weakens their immune system.
To get your flu protection, visit our office location that’s closest to you — in Panorama City, Bell, or Valley Village, California. Call to schedule an appointment or request one online anytime.