Who should get the flu vaccines ?
CDC recommends everyone over 6 months of age should get vaccinated. Especially elderly over the age of 65, pregnant women, children under 5 and people who are at high risk for developing flu related complications such as underlying heart disease, kidney or liver disease.
How do flu vaccines work?
The traditional trivalent seasonal flu vaccines protects us against the 3 common strains that researchers predict will be the most common on the upcoming season. Usually includes protection against 2 influenza A viruses ( H1N1 & H3N2) and 1 influenza b virus.
Our bodies produce antibodies 2 weeks after the shot is given against the viruses in the vaccine. So you are protected against 3 strains mentioned above. If the viruses in the vaccine and influenza viruses circulating in the community match closely, the vaccine effectiveness is higher.
When to get flu shots?
Manufacturers start distributing them end of July beginning of August, but by October everyone should get a flu shot. Outbreaks can start as early as October and peaks in January.
Who shouldn’t get vaccinated?
Kids younger than 6 months should not receive the flu vaccine as well as patients with severe life threatening egg allergy or allergies to ingredients in the vaccine such as gelatin.
There are different flu vaccines indicated for different age groups, for example: patients under age 65 should not be getting the high dose flu shots that are offered to the younger ages.
What are some side effects?
Side effects are mild and short acting compared to the bad symptoms of the flu. Redness, soreness at the local injection site, low grade fever and aches. These are short lived.
You cannot get the flu from a flu shot, the virus is inactivated and therefore cannot cause the flu.
Where can I get a flu shot?
At a doctors office, urgent care center, your local pharmacy, health departments, employers, clinics and even some schools.
Can I get the flu even if I get vaccinated?
Yes. If the match between the flu shot you received and the circulating community viruses is not close then the effectiveness of the flu shot is low. Even so it can decrease the severity of the flu because of cross protection.
Whether the match is close or not, it still has benefits against protecting you from other viruses.