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As Flu-Related Fatalities Rise, Doctor Says There Is Still Time to Get a Flu Shot

photo of Akron Children's Hospital
The flu season is less than half-over, and Dr. John Bower says children, the elderly and anyone with respiratory problems should get the vaccine if they haven't already.

With the flu season less than half over, at least two young people in Ohio have died from the illness, including a 13-year-old Cleveland girl last week.

Dr. John Bower is an infectious disease specialist at Akron Children’s Hospital. He said some patients are concerned that the vaccine will actually bring on the flu, or that it simply is not effective.

“The vaccine could maybe show as little as 20 percent effectiveness in some years. But the important thing is, A) that’s not the norm. Generally we have good matches with good effectiveness. And B) just because it doesn’t prevent disease doesn‘t mean it doesn’t lessen disease," Bower said. 

“The flu vaccine is very effective. It’s a matter of just recognizing that nothing’s 100 percent, but flu vaccine this year is probably 50 percent or more in terms of effectiveness.”

Dr. Bower said there is still time to get a flu shot – especially for minors, the elderly and people with respiratory problems who are most at-risk.

He adds that this year’s vaccine is very well-matched to the strain of flu going around, and even patients who have already been sick once this year can still get the flu again.