Have you decided to get the flu shot this year?
Much of the Canadian population will not. Yet safe and effective vaccines have been in existence for over 60 years. In 2013-2014, only one-third of Canadians aged 12 years and older received the flu shot. The fact of not being vaccinated has few consequences for some – a few days of discomfort at most – but for others the repercussions can be disastrous.
Each year, between 10% and 20% of Canadians are infected with the influenza virus, which translates into people at risk for hospital stays and deaths. Even if the exact figures are subject to debate among experts, it is clear that influenza is not, in some cases, a benign disease – it can even be fatal.
The elderly are the most affected. They account for only 15% of the population, but account for 40% of influenza infections in Canada and the majority of hospitalizations and deaths due to influenza. […]
However, it is not only the elderly who are at high risk. There are also individuals of all ages who have chronic affections affecting the heart, lungs, kidneys, liver and blood; People with diabetes or weakened immune systems (eg because of cancer treatment) are at high risk; Pregnant women (the risks increase in the second and third trimester) and children aged two years and under. Finally, Aboriginal populations are also at risk, given the high rate of chronic disease in some groups. […]
This is why the National Advisory Committee on Immunization strongly advises health care workers, community service providers delivering essential services and anyone who cares for a vulnerable person to get vaccinated. […]
In short, the vaccine provides reasonable protection against influenza, especially when administered early in the season. No, it will not protect you 100%. But if you are vaccinated and you get the flu, you have a better chance of getting away without complications. […]