New Jersey has a looming health problem: this winter is not planning to get enough flu vaccine from us.
Many of us believe that flu, fever, chills and soups at home are not more than a few days at home. This perception is wrong. The flu is much more serious than any cold and can be fatal, especially as it gets older.
According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, last year the US experienced the consequences of this misperception. Moreover, the elderly continue to explain the majority of influenza-related deaths. In recent years, deaths associated with seasonal influenza have been estimated to be between 70 and 90 percent in people aged 65 years and over.
That may sound frightening, but there's good news. There is a simple and effective way to reduce the likelihood of influenza vaccination: influenza vaccine.
Less than two-thirds of the elderly across the country are planning to be vaccinated according to Clover Health's Flu Shot Monitor, and the results in New Jersey are especially noteworthy. The survey found that only 60 percent of seniors in New Jersey were planning to be vaccinated this season. We can do better, considering how easy and cheap a shot is.
The Flu Vaccine Monitor's findings also help to understand why many older people choose to vaccinate. In New Jersey, the elders said that they had not been vaccinated and said: The vaccine is worried that they will make them sick (41 percent); they do not think it will be effective (37 percent); They think they don't need it or they can't get their flu (35 percent).
Let's debug each of these:
First of all, influenza vaccines cannot make the flu. Vaccination scientists use inactivated (killed) viruses or a small amount of whole virus, which allows your body to create immunity without making you sick. Yes, a small percentage of people become sluggish after a few days of taking the shot, but this is a small price for payment.
The most effective way to protect yourself from the flu is to shoot. Recent studies have shown that influenza vaccination reduces the risk by 40 to 60 percent. Since you're feeling healthy or you don't get flu, there's no guarantee that you will get rid of the virus this year.
Our survey results knew that I matched what I heard from patients as physicians for years. Unfortunately, the unvaccinated elderly not only endanger themselves, but also endanger their friends and family members, especially their young grandchildren.
As a community, we must ensure that each assistant in each neighborhood understands the serious threat the influenza virus inflicts.
Although there are many legends about influenza vaccination, the real danger is to catch the disease. It is our duty for our friends, family and neighbors to eliminate these tales and instill everyone before the virus.
Clover Health serves a large number of societies that suffer from the influenza epidemic. Thanks to initiatives such as influenza vaccination monitors, we increase awareness and increase the rate of influenza vaccination. But our own voice can only travel so far. We need your help.
So please: Take the vaccine, vaccinate your children, vaccinate your grandparents, become senior in an influenza clinic, or help a vaccine reduce the fear of getting sick from a vaccine. At least share this story.
Kumar Dharmarajan is a geriatric and cardiologist who serves as chief science officer for Clover Health in Jersey City.