A new report shows that fewer than half of all Americans have opted to get the flu shot this flu season. Experts worry that this could lead to a dangerous outbreak of the potentially serious illness.
In fact, the report — which comes from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) — shows that many Americans are planning to skip getting the flu shot altogether.
Dr. Jeffry Duchin, a Washington State-based public health expert, says “that’s a big concern.” Duchin says he’s learned that many people think the flu vaccine is either ineffective or unavailable in their area, leaving them feeling rather apathetic about the situation.
Just last week the CDC reported that a more potent strain of the flu, known as H3N2, was circulating widely. The flu vaccine is only partly effective against this strain of the flu, which is probably why so many Americans are concerned about the vaccine’s efficacy.
The CDC, which based its findings on a recent telephone survey, says only about 40 per cent of American adults and 42 per cent of American children have received the flu shot so far this flu season.
Although the numbers are alarming for health experts like Duchin, they’re not that surprising; in fact, they’re in line with last year’s vaccination numbers. “We should strive to do better this year,” Duchin says. “Since this is anticipated to be a severe year, it would be nice to see an increase in the number of people who get vaccinated.”