Half of reported cases have affected children
The department reported the first flu outbreak in a long-term-care facility, and for the first time reported cases in all 17 of the state’s health regions. It said all but one of those regions (which it didn’t specify) reported increased flu activity.
On the department’s county-by-county map, the relatively small county of Monroe and the less-than-average sized county of Perry stood out. The state has confirmed 106 cases in Perry and 71 in Monroe in the last calendar quarter. Others could have similar numbers; 46 of the state’s 120 counties had no cases or did not report. Those included some relatively large counties.
“Many who refuse to get the flu shot insist that they are not anti-vaxxers,” writes Fankhauser, an assistant professor at Emory University in Atlanta and an expert in infectious diseases. “Yet, the arguments spouted by those who refuse to get their shot are grounded in as little scientific basis as those typically given by anti-vaxxers.” Those arguments, and the facts to the contrary, include:
Every time I get the flu vaccine I get sick.
“You can feel ill after getting the flu vaccine, but you didn’t get the flu from the vaccine,” Fankhauser explains. “It stimulates the immune system to make the appropriate antibodies, causes a bit of inflammation and that can cause uncomfortable symptoms. Another explanation is that you actually got sick, either from the flu virus you picked up prior to getting the vaccine, or from a completely different virus altogether.”
The vaccine is made from dead virus, so it can’t inflect you.
I never get the flu, so why should I get the vaccine?
“Think about the flu vaccine like buying a lottery ticket—except that the vaccine has odds that are much, much more in your favor,” Fanhkauser reports. “The less selfish response: It’s not just about you. Limiting outbreaks and reducing the number of infections benefits everyone. Think about the immunocompromised, elderly or very young. Many people in those categories cannot get the flu vaccine or have limited protection from the vaccine, and they are at greater risk for contracting the flu and for developing severe complications, including death. When everyone gets the flu vaccine, the risk to these individuals is reduced.”
The shot only offers limited protection, so why get the vaccine if I’m just going to get the flu anyway?
“Some people, and many who refuse to get the vaccine for this reason, have the idea that the development of the seasonal flu vaccine is haphazard. It’s not,” Fankhauser writes. “There is a rigorous, methodical scientific approach to developing the vaccine every year. Unfortunately, some years the vaccine is less effective than other years. However, the vaccine will always provide some protection, which is better than none. Even in the worst years, and even with limited protection, the vaccine can help reduce the severity and duration of symptoms.”
It’s so inconvenient; I have to get it every year!
“It can be certainly inconvenient to schedule time to get the vaccine each year, but more inconvenient is the huge financial cost to getting the flu,” Fankhauser argues. “The costs can include doctor visits, medicine and a reduced paycheck for missing work. Companies and employers have to deal with covering shifts and lost productivity when employees take a week or more off of work to recover from the flu.”
By Al Cross
Kentucky Health News