(NEW YORK) — Health officials say it should be your New Year’s resolution: get a flu shot before it’s too late.
“Last year we didn’t see peak flu activity…until March, so it is absolutely not too late,” ABC News senior medical contributor Dr. Jennifer Ashton said.
Several flu-related deaths have already been reported in Minnesota and Washington State.
Most at risk are infants, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems. And while the vaccine may not prevent you from getting sick, it does make a difference, according to Ashton.
“The idea is about 60 to 85 percent of efficacy for the flu vaccine,” she said. “It is important to remember that if you get the flu vaccine and you’re in the failure rate, which I was after having been vaccinated — I actually got the flu — you will have a shorter course and less symptoms.”
Ashton notes that upon receiving the vaccine, it takes about two weeks to get the full immune protection.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Magdala Louissaint, KPVI
Jamiel Lynch and Debra Goldschmidt, CNN
Josh Friesen, Idaho State Journal