Flu season proves that the invincible are not, in fact, invincible
February 24, 2015
February 24, 2015
Although health officials continue to encourage flu vaccinations for everyone over the ripe old age of 6 months, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported recently that only about one-third of Americans aged 18 to 64 had been vaccinated by November. Further, adults between 25 and 64 account for more than half of flu deaths this season, compared with less than a quarter last year. According to the Washington Post, 243 people under the age of 65 have died so far this year.
Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. also reported that the median age of people hospitalized with influenza was 28.5, with many of the worst cases occurring in young, otherwise healthy individuals. Of the 22 who ended up in the intensive care unit at Duke, only two had been vaccinated.
What does this tell us? The young “invincibles” are not so invincible after all.
According to the CDC's director, Dr. Tom Frieden, getting a flu shot each year is the most important thing you can do to protect yourself. But why are so many Americans, particularly young Americans, ignoring the constant reminders from parents, doctors and the media to get vaccinated?
Perhaps for the same reason that which many in this particular population remain uninsured; they simply feel they don’t need the coverage.
Currently, it is estimated that 19 million young adults across the country currently lack basic health insurance coverage.
The uninsured receive less preventive care and recommended screenings, one such preventive measure being the flu vaccine.
Twenty-four states reported widespread flu activity last week, “widespread” meaning more than 50% of geographic regions in a state reported cases. The bad news? Experts expect that the elevated flu activity in parts of the United States will continue for several more weeks.