Flu shot time

I have been writing this blog since March 2010. I have produced a total of more than 3700 posts in that period. I think one of the most incendiary topics in that entire time is … flu shots. I get one every year. My doctor tells me to. I listen to her and I got one on Friday. I think you should too.

While the impact of flu varies, it places a substantial burden on the health of people in the United States each year. CDC estimates that influenza has resulted in between 9.2 million and 60.8 million illnesses, between 140,000 and 710,000 hospitalizations and between 12,000 and 56,000 deaths annually since 2010. flu-burden-cases.png

The following is excerpted from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC):

Why should people get vaccinated against the flu?

Influenza is a potentially serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Every flu season is different, and influenza infection can affect people differently, but millions of people get the flu every year, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized and thousands or tens of thousands of people die from flu-related causes every year. An annual seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to help protect against flu. Vaccination has been shown to have many benefits including reducing the risk of flu illnesses, hospitalizations and even the risk of flu-related death in children.

How do flu vaccines work?

Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine.

The seasonal flu vaccine protects against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. Traditional flu vaccines (called “trivalent” vaccines) are made to protect against three flu viruses; an influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus, and an influenza B virus. There are also flu vaccines made to protect against four flu viruses (called “quadrivalent” vaccines). These vaccines protect against the same viruses as the trivalent vaccine and an additional B virus.

Who should get vaccinated this season?

Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every season. This recommendation has been in place since February 24, 2010 when CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted for “universal” flu vaccination in the United States to expand protection against the flu to more people.

Vaccination to prevent influenza is particularly important for people who are at high risk of serious complications from influenza. See People at High Risk of Developing Flu-Related Complications for a full list of age and health factors that confer increased risk.

Does flu vaccine work right away?

No. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against influenza virus infection. That’s why it’s better to get vaccinated by the end of October, before the flu season really gets under way.

Vaccine Effectiveness

Influenza vaccine effectiveness (VE) can vary from year to year. The protection provided by a flu vaccine depends on the age and health status of the person getting the vaccine, and the similarity or “match” between the viruses or virus in the vaccine and those in circulation. For more information, see Vaccine Effectiveness – How well does the Flu Vaccine Work.

Vaccine Benefits

What are the benefits of flu vaccination?

There are many reasons to get a flu vaccine each year. Below is a summary of the benefits of flu vaccination, and selected scientific studies that support these benefits.

  • Flu vaccination can keep you from getting sick with flu.
          • Flu vaccine prevents millions of illnesses and flu-related doctor’s visits each year. For example, during 2016-2017, flu vaccination prevented an estimated 5.3 million influenza illnesses, 2.6 million influenza-associated medical visits, and 85,000 influenza-associated hospitalizations.
          • In seasons when the vaccine viruses matched circulating strains, flu vaccine has been shown to reduce the risk of having to go to the doctor with flu by 40 percent to 60 percent.

        If you want to read the entire CDC pronouncement on flu shots, here is the link:
        CDC on Flu Shots.



Filed under CDC, flu deaths, flu season, flu shot

10 responses to “Flu shot time

  1. I’m seeing my doctor Monday for my annual physical and plan to get one then!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have one every year. It free for senior citizens for good reason. I was careless until the second bout of pneumonia! Old people are at risk.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t get the vaccine personally, but I’m all for vaccines. As I age, and therefore become more susceptible, I will change my behavior.

    There was one line that didn’t quite sit right: “An annual seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to help protect against flu.”

    I disagree, but only based on the reality that the flu shot is hit or miss (and often “miss”). Being fit is the best protection. The fitter I am, the more resistant I am. I can recall several instances where my wife and kids come down with the flu but it skips me. Now that my wife regularly rides, it skips her, too.

    I just wanted to add the point, not disagree.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I remember last year my country created a flu shot mixture and we got hit by a different variety of the flu… A lot of people still got sick despite having gotten a shot.

    I never get the flu shot, but I feel my immune system is doing rather well. I hardly ever get the flu anyway, usually it’s the sniffles for a few days or at worst I catch a tough cold and feel under the weather for a week.

    Having said all that, I think it’s a good thing flu shots are available, and especially to those with lower immune systems or vulnerable people. I can rave about hardly ever getting the flu, but I am pretty healthy as is. Things are different for others, so it’s good they can get their defence on, so to speak 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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