Read More: Life Hacker
After a few months of hand-wringing over the flu vaccine’s 10 percent effectiveness against one strain of flu in Australia, we finally have a number for how it’s doing in the US this season. It’s 36 percent effective at preventing flu among people in general, and 59 percent effective in children under 8. These numbers aren’t great, but they’re a heck of a lot better than zero. Quick facts to share with your local bellyacher: The flu shot is free with insurance (including at in-network pharmacies), and side effects are rare and usually mild. Even if you’re young and healthy it has more benefits than risks. It means if you do get the flu it probably won’t knock you out quite as badly as if you didn’t have the shot. And, perhaps more importantly, it means you’re less likely to pass on any flu germs to more vulnerable people in your life such as grandpas and children and that lady who had chemo last week who stood next to you on the subway.