What’s your response to some holistic providers that say a flu shot only protects you against 4 strains? My baby had a flu shot – and STILL got the flu last winter resulting in febrile seizures that sent us to the ER in an ambulance. I’m on the fence now on whether to get the shots for my kids considering they both still had the flu after the shot!
And thanks for always answering – I love that we can speak to physicians and get actual opinions on this site!
It’s true that the flu vaccine protects against 3-4 flu strains only. However, every year the strains that are included in the vaccine change based on what is predicted to be the strains that are going around that year. Therefore getting the vaccine does not mean you are 100% protected against the flu – instead the rate is about 60% when the vaccine and what ends up going around are good matches (this is still pretty good coverage!). However, even if you do get the flu after being vaccinated, having the vaccine can lessen some of the complications and make the duration of illness less (and having had the flu with and without the vaccine – I can tell you it’s MUCH better having had the vaccine!)
Therefore, if you skip the vaccine completely the only thing you can be sure of is that your kids are 100% not protected. But you should talk it over with your doc if you are concerned!
Also, more info from the CDC here: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/keyfacts.htm