Michael Specter urges everyone to get a flu shot:
Even if you think you are invincible, your elderly neighbors and infant children are not. People with weakened immune systems—those undergoing cancer treatments, for example—are not. Your parents and grandparents are not. The flu vaccine is not perfect, but it’s what we have. It’s available at drug-store chains and malls, big-box superstores and, naturally, at your doctor’s office. Get one today.
Lisa Beyer worries about shortages:
Should a severe flu push demand for vaccines higher than the planned supply, manufacturers would be unable to respond. That's because flu vaccine production — an antiquated system using chicken eggs that has remained basically unchanged since the 1940s — is a six-month long process. That's why it's best to get the vaccine as soon as it's available, in September usually, when supplies are plentiful, before flu season begins.
And Sarah Kliff explains why flu vaccination rates are relatively low:
Lori Uscher-Pines, a policy researcher at the RAND Corp., estimates that part of the issue has to do with no consequences for not getting vaccinated (well, except for coming down with the flu). Unlike childhood vaccines, which are generally required to start a school year, employers don’t stop their workers’ from coming to work if they cannot prove flu immunization.
(Photo: Dr. Sassan Naderi holds a vile of flu vacination at the Premier Care walk-in health clinic which administers flu shots on January 10, 2013 in New York City. By Spencer Platt/Getty Images)