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The mathematics of the flu shot

Many things in life can be explained mathematically, whether simply (1+1 = 2) or in a more complex fashion (x + y = z).

When it comes to the great debate about whether to get a flu shot, the equation couldn’t be easier. Here’s mine:

1 President and CEO of a healthcare network
1 elderly mother
A moral obligation to protect my mother from any germs that she might catch from me

Unsure about how to calculate your own equation of whether to get the flu vaccine? Take a look at the following numbers and see what you think:

Last year, approximately 12,000 people in Canada are hospitalized with the flu

3,500 who died from it
Protect yourself and those around you

The vaccine is free for many people, and it’s available at CLSCs and pharmacies, so there’s no excuse not to get it.

To all the naysayers who claim that “the vaccine last year wasn’t very effective,” I can only reply: Isn’t increasing your chances of not getting the flu a good enough reason to be vaccinated?

So don’t wait; the snow isn’t the only sign that winter came early this year. According to Statistics Canada, the influenza season started earlier than in recent years. In particular, the report shows a large increase in paediatric hospitalizations than was previously the case.

And remember, you wouldn’t just be getting the vaccine for yourself. You’d be doing it to help protect your family, your friends and all those around you.

Here’s a formula that really makes sense: Add getting vaccinated to your to-do list, so that you can subtract the flu from your outlook, and you can multiply your chances of having a healthy winter, without having to divide your time with being sick and recuperating.

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