No flu shots? Should I worry?

As a result of the cancellation of flu vaccine shipments from a British manufacturer whose supplies may be contaminated, the U.S. apparently will only have half of the doses needed, and the CDC has asked that the shots be given only to people in specified high risk groups. Where does that leave the rest of us? In past years, we have heard that a flu shot is an essential tool to avoid a potentially deadly disease, and “get a shot” campaigns have been heavily promoted. Now we’re being told to forget about it.

I’ve been getting annual flu shots for probably 10 years, and they’ve worked. What do I look forward to this year, and what are the likely consequences for the population as a whole?

What are the chances you’ll get the flu? Probably low. In my almost 22 years on this planet, I remember getting the flu twice, maybe three times (although that maybe time was really jsut a really high fever, no other flu-like symptoms.)

The odd thing is, the two times I got the flu was the same year, about a month and a half apart…then, the second flu led right into pnuemonia! That was a fun month!

That’s why they’re asking that only people in high risk groups get the shots - the elderly, those with compromised immune systems, people with respiratory problems, etc. As a general rule, the flu doesn’t kill otherwise healthy adults.

The lack of vaccine will probably mean that, if a particularly virulent strain of the flu pops up, a lot more people are going to have a miserable week or two. Your best defense is to stay healthy - eat right, exercise, get enough sleep. That gives you the best chance of fending off the flu if you’re exposed to it.

I’ve never had a flu shot, and have had the flu exactly once in my life, over 30 years ago. Not getting the shot does not mean that you’re going to get the flu and die from it!

I know that the plural of ‘anecdote’ is not ‘data’, but I, too, have never had a flu shot, and I’ve never had the flu.

Before the flu shots, it seemed that whenever I would get sick, I’d be sick for the entire season (some form of the illness would remain). Ever since I started the flu shots, no sickness. I’m also diabetic. Would this affect me? Should I begin warning my medical team, friends, family, and coworkers to expect a very cranky and miserable WeRSauron this winter?