The $5.8 Billion Argument For Getting Your Flu Shot


If avoiding a miserable, potentially deadly virus isn’t motivation enough to get a flu shot, here’s one more reason: American adults sick with flu cost about $5.8 billion last year in medical visits, medication and lost productivity, according to a new study published in Health Affairs.

And it isn’t just the flu; the study found that adults sick with a slew of diseases that can be prevented by vaccines collectively cost about $9 billion in 2015. Vaccines can’t prevent all illness, but most of that financial burden – $7.1 billion – was caused by people who skipped vaccines, for diseases including influenza and HPV.

Vaccines are one of the most powerful advances in medicine but became mired in controversy nearly two decades ago because of a fraudulent study that suggested a possible link to autism. That paper has been retracted, and the idea has been thoroughly debunked, but the idea hasn’t budged in the minds of some people and has even been repeated by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. This debate has focused on children, but many adults aren’t keeping up to date on recommended vaccinations – and that, the new study argues, is taking a toll on the economy.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that less than half of adults were vaccinated last flu season, a fact that the study’s authors see as a major economic, as well as public health, opportunity. The cost of a disease isn’t just measured in doctors’ visits, drugs or hospitalizations. The researchers also calculated the productivity loss when people must seek care instead of go to work.

Flu wreaked the highest total societal cost, driven by the high number of cases. It was followed by pneumococcal disease at about $1.9 billion.

Getting more people vaccinated won’t erase all of this economic loss, because vaccines aren’t 100 percent effective. But it could be an important and simple step to take to improve health and reap a measurable economic benefit.

“By highlighting the tremendous financial burden that unvaccinated individuals place on the economy and the health system, we hope that our estimate will spur creative policy solutions,” the authors wrote.

(c) 2016, The Washington Post · Carolyn Y. Johnson 



  1. the only loss is the vaccine makers who are not making enough money (sarcasm). ridiculous claims. vaccines are full of toxic chemicals.

  2. why do you post this garbage??? this is clearly written by the vaccine makers and those who stand to gain monetarily from the vaccines. this is so corrupt it is unbelievable. everyone is so brainwashed by this nonsense. alot of people who get vaccinated get the flu anyway. there are plenty of studies that show that taking the flu shot does not change much in your chances of getting the flu. and there are plenty of people who get vaccine damage from the flu shot. the flu shot is the one vaccine that still contains mercury. many pregnant women who take the flu shot miscarry after taking it.
    just look at the insert that comes with it and you will see the side effects.

  3. According to the CDC the flu shot in 2014 & 2015 were about 25% effective in healthy adults & about 9% effective in elderly. About 77 people were compensated by the govt in 2014 for severe injuries caused by the flu shot. In addition there were many recorded cases of flu deaths in vaccinated individuals. But don’t look at the info above & niether should u read the package insert. Just look at the risk/benefit ratio. What are several lives & injuries compared to the benefit of a few billion dollars for Big Pharma?

  4. According to the CDC the flu shot in 2015 & 2016 was about 25% effective in healthy adults & 9% effective in elderly. In 2015 the govt. paid compensation to about 77 people who have been severely injured by the flu shot. In addition there have been many recorded cases of flu deaths in vaccinated individuals. but don’t look at the info above & niether should u read the package insert. Just look at the risk /benefit ratio. what r a few lives & severe injuries compared to the multi billion $ benefit of Big Pharma? I’ll let u do the math

  5. In addition to the “fraudulent” study (which btw I don’t believe was fraudulent at all), the CDC has done a study in 1994 which proved that African Americans that were vaccinated with the MMR prior to 36 mo. of age were 3x more likely to develop autism than those that were waited till after 36 mo. This study was hidden for many yrs & was recently revealed by Dr. William Thompson from CDC.