Health Advice



The far-reaching benefits of flu shots

By Michael Roizen, M.D. on

Last year, only 50.2% of U.S. adults received a flu vaccine. That's troubling because even on an "off" year when the vaccine isn't on point with the strains of flu that are around, getting the inoculation year after year protects you from a serious bout of influenza. A 2019 study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, found that when adults ages 65-plus get an annual flu shot, it reduces the risk of contracting the flu and ending up in intensive care by 74% and of death by 70%.

I mention this because the Food and Drug Administration has approved Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent, Flublok Quadrivalent and Fluzone for the 2022-2023 flu season. High-Dose and Quadrivalent are proven to prevent more cases of flu in older adults. That matters because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that since 2010, 50% to 70% of seasonal flu-related hospitalizations and 70% to 85% of seasonal flu-related deaths have happened to people ages 65 and older.

And here's another huge incentive to get your flu vaccine: Over the course of four years, if you get one flu shot, you reduce your risk of getting Alzheimer's by an astounding 40%. And the rate of developing Alzheimer's is lowest among those who received the flu vaccine every year, according to a study in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease. The theory is that the flu shot protects you from inflammation if you get the flu, and that's key to preventing brain inflammation and dementia. Bottom line: Start getting the flu shot when you're young and don't stop.



Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four No. 1 New York Times bestsellers. His next book is "The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow." Do you have a topic Dr. Mike should cover in a future column? If so, please email

(c)2022 Michael Roizen, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2022 Michael Roizen, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.



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