Less than perfect vaccine still protects against the flu

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Doctors say flu vaccine is worth the stick

This year’s flu season is proving to be a tough one, and it’s continuing to ramp up. While experts say the flu vaccine is only about 10 percent effective compared to up to 50 to 60 percent in previous years, you shouldn’t skip getting the flu shot.

“Vaccination is still one of our best lines of defense against the flu virus,” said Dr. Dan Elwell, medical director of the Providence Emergency Department.   “Even though this year’s vaccine is less effective, it still reduces your risk of getting the flu by 10 percent, which can be the difference between life and death for some people.”

The number of cases now are still consistent with most years, but Elwell says don’t wait it out, there’s still more to come.

“The vaccine inefficacy this year means we will likely see many more people affected than usual in the January and February peak months, so it’s important to arm yourself with as much protection as possible, including getting vaccinated and practicing good flu hygiene to reduce the spread of flu.” Elwell said.

If you do get the flu after getting the shot, immunities already built up from the vaccine can help you weather the illness with more ease, Elwell added.

 Tips for reducing the spread of flu

 Get the flu shot-it’s not too late, even if you’ve already had the flu this season.

  • Wash your hands and hard surfaces often.
  • Don’t share food or drinks.
  • Stay home if you’re sick.