In the past 10 years, the seasonal flu vaccine saved an estimated 40,000 American lives, according to a study published in Vaccine. Without the vaccine, researchers estimate influenza’s death toll would have climbed 22 percent higher.
Seniors benefited the most from the vaccine: Nearly 89 percent of people whose life was saved by getting a flu shot were 65 years of age and older. Young children between 6 months and 4 years old (who, like seniors, are at high risk of serious flu complications) were the next highest group to benefit by getting the flu shot, based on the percentage of deaths avoided.
The researchers say 40,000 saved lives is actually a conservative estimate, as the study does not take into account indirect vaccination effects like “herd immunity.” Herd immunity occurs when a high percentage of a population is vaccinated, creating a sort of “immunity shield” around individuals who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons.
The data show just how important it is to get a flu vaccine every year. The next life it saves could be your own!
Read the report.