Last summer on “The Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon and Mark Wahlberg played a few rounds of Headshots, a bow and arrow game in which you try to shoot an object off your opponent’s head. Jimmy hit the mark about as often as the flu shot did last year.
Fortunately, this year, health authorities are expecting the vaccine to be much more effective; they have incorporated changes in the influenza A (H3N2) virus and the influenza B virus components to target strains that will be the most prevalent. (In any given year, flu vaccines are about 50 to 60 percent effective for the overall population.)
So if you’re discouraged by last year’s results, don’t be. This year, it’s both important and effective to get vaccinated. Most health insurance plans cover the shot (or charge a nominal co-pay), and Medicare and Medicaid cover it.
If you’re over 65, consider getting the high-dose three-strain version (trivalent); a regular dose trivalent is now available for folks who are allergic to eggs (one version is cultured in eggs; the new one is grown in a cell culture instead). Anyone age 18-64 can go for the quadrivalent version (four strains). And overall, everyone 6 months and older and all pregnant women should be vaccinated. Talk to your doc about the right form of the vaccine for you and your whole family.
© 2015 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.