While we are rightfully preoccupied with COVID-19 and the new vaccines, we mustn’t forget about flu shots. While the number of influenza cases has dropped dramatically (probably due to pandemic precautions), people are still catching the flu and some are dying from it – even one child death was reported this year.

Mark Crislip, MD, was an editor of Science-Based Medicine for many years and is now an editor emeritus. An infectious disease specialist, he is a passionate supporter of flu shots. He explained the science and the reasons for getting a flu shot here. He no longer writes for SBM, but every year around this time Skeptical Raptor reprints Crislip’s epic rant “A Budget of Dumb Asses”. It’s still pertinent and is highly amusing. If you haven’t read it, please do so; and read Skeptical Raptor’s comments.

I’m not going to repeat what has already been said so eloquently, but I will summarize: flu shots are safe and effective (although admittedly not as effective as we could wish) and getting your flu shot will not only provide you with some personal protection but will help protect vulnerable people in the community: the elderly, the immunocompromised, and those too young to get the vaccine. And COVID-19 is bad enough by itself; having influenza at the same time wouldn’t improve your chance of a good outcome.

The best time to get the annual flu shot is before the end of October. If you haven’t gotten it already, I hope you will get it soon. If you are elderly, I hope you will opt for the high dose vaccine as I do: it’s free for those of us on Medicare and is widely available at pharmacies. My husband and I get ours at Safeway.

Author

  • Harriet Hall, MD also known as The SkepDoc, is a retired family physician who writes about pseudoscience and questionable medical practices. She received her BA and MD from the University of Washington, did her internship in the Air Force (the second female ever to do so),  and was the first female graduate of the Air Force family practice residency at Eglin Air Force Base. During a long career as an Air Force physician, she held various positions from flight surgeon to DBMS (Director of Base Medical Services) and did everything from delivering babies to taking the controls of a B-52. She retired with the rank of Colonel.  In 2008 she published her memoirs, Women Aren't Supposed to Fly.

Posted by Harriet Hall

Harriet Hall, MD also known as The SkepDoc, is a retired family physician who writes about pseudoscience and questionable medical practices. She received her BA and MD from the University of Washington, did her internship in the Air Force (the second female ever to do so),  and was the first female graduate of the Air Force family practice residency at Eglin Air Force Base. During a long career as an Air Force physician, she held various positions from flight surgeon to DBMS (Director of Base Medical Services) and did everything from delivering babies to taking the controls of a B-52. She retired with the rank of Colonel.  In 2008 she published her memoirs, Women Aren't Supposed to Fly.