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No, the flu shot isn’t fail-safe—but here’s why it’s still worth it


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Photo: Well+Good Creative

Some seasons, the flu comes and goes without leaving much of a mark beyond a few sniffles and a higher used-tissue count than usual. This year, however, the flu threat has morphed from a mild nuisance to an actual life-threatening epidemic. To prevent contracting the infection, you might have smiled your way through a flu shot. But if you took that precaution and still contracted the bug? Well, that’s actually pretty common, data shows.

Vaccines administered between November 2 and February 3 had an estimated 36 percent rate of effectiveness—which may seem subpar but is actually pretty significant.

According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control, vaccines administered between November 2 and February 3 had an estimated 36 percent rate of effectiveness. And while that may seem subpar, it is actually pretty significant, especially considering the aggressive nature of this year’s virus, Time reports.

CDC data shows that despite the vaccine’s effectiveness not clearing the 20 percent mark between 2014 and 2015, it still prevented roughly 4,000 deaths and 144,000 hospitalizations.

If you did get sick after getting a vaccine, know that your case was likely less severe than it was for the unvaccinated people who caught the flu. And another reason not to lose hope about the effectiveness of the vaccine is, beyond its obvious impact on an individual’s health, in the long run, it improves public health, too. CDC data shows that despite the vaccine’s effectiveness not clearing the 20 percent mark between 2014 and 2015, it still prevented roughly 4,000 deaths and 144,000 hospitalizations.

As we inch out of the frigid embrace of winter and into spring, the CDC still recommends getting the shot if you haven’t already, since the center claims this season’s epidemic has broken hospitalization records and made flu and pneumonia deaths increasingly common.

And, good news: Obviously getting a vaccine isn’t quite enjoyable, but the future might hold a onetime universal flu shot that lasts a lifetime.

If you think you’re getting sick, you may want to reconsider the effectiveness of orange juice and instead turn to this kind of ultraviolet light

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