Getting a flu shot does more than just protect you, the person who received the immunization. It also protects everyone around you, who might not have received their flu shot yet. This is an often forgotten reason to make sure the shots are widely distributed and readily available.
Doctors have been suggesting everyone past the age of six months should get a flu vaccination every year, as the strains of flu change and evolve in their endless game of medical cat and mouse against the science of immunization. Two reasons for getting your flu shot are:
- Immunizations can weaken symptoms, or even entirely prevent the immunized person from contracting the flu.
- Herd immunity; where a population of people have all been immunized.
Like most diseases and viruses, flu spreads from person to person. One infected person can pass the virus to potentially everyone he or she comes into contact with. But with herd immunity, a large number of already immune people, are present, they act as a firebreak against the spread of the virus. There’s no one for the virus to infect, and rather than starting anew with each person it makes sick, the virus has no where to go and dies out.
Herd immunity is valuable for this reason, to contain disease outbreaks. But also to use that same herd immunity to protect individuals who can’t receive the vaccination, such as those who are too young or sick to get the shots. When they’re surrounded by immunized people, they’re safer even though they haven’t been yet immunized themselves.
Herd immunity is immunizing everyone, so diseases and virus get stopped cold with no one to infect. #HealthStatus
- 1The more people who are vaccinated in a community, the lower the risk that influenza will be able to spread even if the vaccine does not perfectly protect against the disease.
- 2When it comes to communicable diseases we are all in this together.
- 3Spreading the news about the benefits of vaccinations is critical for reaching herd immunity in a community.
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