Health leaders are worried about the flu this year. We keep up with our journal reading and they worry every year, so what’s different this year? They have a concern that the lack of the nasal form of the flu vaccine (FluMist) will cause some families to skip getting the vaccine this year. That could spell trouble for all of us.

The CDC announced that the nasal flu vaccine was not effective enough and should not be used in the 2016-2017 season. The American Academy of Pediatrics agreed. The problem is that the Flumist was widely used (and loved) by most of us. And if those children don’t take the flu shot version, our immunization rates will dip. And if this happens….we lose ‘herd’ immunity. Herd immunity means that if enough of the population are immunized, we provide protection from those that are not because they are cocooned from contact with the infection. This is how we protect our infants that are too young to be immunized and our family members that have cancer or an immune deficiency that prevents them from getting protection from the flu vaccine. The flu can be dangerous and even life threatening in these groups. Our flu vaccination rate was 45% last year, if we go down from that number, we could be in real trouble.

Gratefully, we have plenty of the flu vaccine despite not having the nasal form. And we expect the FluMist will have a comeback, once they revise it to make it more effective. So come on by, and get your flu shot!