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Flu shot still the first line of defense

September 25, 2018

It’s too soon to know how bad this year’s flu season will be, but Illinois’ Department of Public Health officials are encouraging people to go get a flu shot.

Last year’s flu vaccine wasn’t as effective as other years. The Centers for Disease Control said it was a high severity season.

The Illinois Department of Public Health’s Melaney Arnold said no one knows what this flu season will bring, but she says no matter what, a flu shot is your best defense.

“Getting a flu shot is still better than not getting one,” Arnold said. “It helps reduce your chances of not getting the flu. It also reduces doctor visits, and the number of times people miss work and school due to the flu. It can lessen the impact of the flu if you still get it.”

Last year, the flu vaccine was less effective than usual.

“The overall vaccine effectiveness in the 2017-18 flu season was about 40 percent,” Arnold said. “The vaccine reduced a person’s overall risk of having to seek medical care for the flu by about 40 percent. We typically hope that’s a little higher, about 60 percent.”

Arnold said people can get a flu shot at their doctor’s office, local pharmacies and often times at their local public health department.

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