Health workers say turning down flu vaccines costs lives
The medical industry recommends that all people who are older than 65, are pregnant, have an underlying health problem, or work as a health care worker receive their vaccines each year.
"Every year up to 500 000 people around the globe die because of influenza complications,” Caroline Brown, World Health Organization Europe's program manager for influenza and other respiratory pathogens, said. “About 10% of these deaths are in Europe. Many of these lives could have been saved with a simple action: getting the influenza shot. Annually, at least 30 million people in the WHO European Region decide to get vaccinated against influenza. Everyone who is over 65, has an underlying health problem, is pregnant or is a health care worker should be one of them.”
Typically, people only have mild influenza symptoms, and some people who have underlying health concerns or other health situations die from influenza.
"Far too many over 65s and people with underlying health conditions are not aware of how flu can affect their health; they are complacent and do not bother about getting vaccinated,” Brown said. “Thinking of influenza as a harmless disease is misguided, especially for these people. By getting the flu shot they could reduce the risk of complications, and this has to be done every year, not just once, as influenza viruses change.”