BRAZIL, Ind. (WTHI) – Flu season in the United States can begin as early as October according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Year after year doctors and health professions urge people to get their flu shot, but one local pharmacist has a different outlook on making this decision.
This isn’t Lynn Hostetler’s first day on the job. In fact, he’s been a pharmacist for nearly 50 years. But in the past few years, he’s witnessed the flu shot change.
“I became a doubter in all this about 5 or 6 years ago,” said owner Lynn Hostetler. “Up until that point, I had given them, believed them, and thought they were great.”
According to the CDC, the flu vaccine was only 23% effective in 2015. This means many people who received the flu shot were not protected to the extent they thought they were.
“It’s kind of like a flip of a coin. On the best years it’s 50/50 chance if it’s going to work or not,” said Hostetler.
Health officials research which strands of viruses will be most common in the upcoming year in hopes that their predictions will match the future flu season. The effectiveness of the vaccine is determined by how closely their predictions match the upcoming season.
Lynn Pharmacy hasn’t offered flu shots for five years, while CVS Pharmacy has had flu shots since August. CVS even offers customers incentives such as 20% off their purchase the day they get their flu shot.
In a statement, CVS told News 10, “Flu activity usually begins to increase in October and it is recommended that everyone over age six months get a yearly flu shot to protect themselves.”
“Since it can take up to two weeks for a patient’s immune system to fully respond and to be protected from the flu, the CDC recommends that patients get the vaccine by the end of October if possible. However, getting vaccinated later in the season can still be beneficial,” said CVS Pharmacy.
But what Hostetler wants the public to focus on is the research behind the vaccine. “So the flu vaccine can be neutral, good, or bad. Information is what we need rather than being mandated,” said Hostetler.
He recommends patients talk to their doctor and research the flu shot before making the decision of whether or not they need the vaccine to prevent them from influenza.
“I’m not telling everyone don’t get a flu shot, I’m just saying you need the information,” said Hostetler. “But to take the information that is being forced down our throat as mandatory, I think is a little high-handed.”
For more information on flu vaccines and whether you should get one click here: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/keyfacts.htm