FLU VACCINATION FOR
It is recommended that all adults get an annual flu vaccine to protect themselves from flu and stop the spread of the virus to their families and communities.
Each flu season, anywhere from 9.3 million - 45 million people suffer with flu illnesses, between 140,000 – 810,000 people are hospitalized due to flu, and between 12,000 – 61,000 people die each year just in the U.S. The majority of people who bear the greatest burden of severe flu disease tends to be adults.
Ideally, adults should be vaccinated by the end of October. However, as long as flu viruses are circulating, vaccination should continue throughout flu season.
Flu is a very unpredictable virus and while we can treat the symptoms, the virus must run its course. That’s why even healthy and active adults can suffer with serious illness and complications from flu. For adults who suffer with certain health conditions, whether those conditions are identified or not, the flu can pose an even more severe risk. Learn more about the various health conditions that can elevate an individual's risk of complications from flu here.
An otherwise healthy adult may end up hospitalized and suffer from loss of income, increased medical bills and even permanent health consequences that could have been avoided.
Even months after recovering from flu, adults remain at an increased risk of heart attack, stroke or other health disabilities.
Benefits of Flu Vaccination in Adults:
In seasons when the vaccine viruses is well matched to circulating strains, flu vaccine has been shown to reduce the risk of having to go to the doctor with flu by 40-60 percent. If you do happen to get sick despite being vaccinated, studies show that vaccination may reduce the severity of disease.
A study showed that flu vaccination among adults from 2012 to 2015 reduced the risk of being admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) with flu by 82%. And if you are hospitalized with flu, another study showed that vaccinated individuals were 59% less likely to be admitted to the ICU than those who had not been vaccinated.
Generally speaking, adults are able to receive any flu vaccine that is approved for use in their age group. However, there are two vaccines specifically designed for people 65 years of age and older, including a high dose flu vaccine and an adjuvanted flu vaccine.
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Page last reviewed: September 2020.