9 Reasons To Get This Year’s Flu Vaccine

It’s that time of year again!  Time to gear up for the cold and flu season.  The flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from flu infection and its potential health consequences.

  1. This year’s vaccine should be more EFFECTIVE than last year’s.  Last year, there were two strains — one Influenza A and one Influenza B — that evolved after the vaccine was made.  So the vaccine was only effective in 20-25% of cases.  In the few years before last year, the vaccine was effective in around 50% of cases.  We expect to go back to that this year.  We wish it was 100% effective of course.  But wouldn’t you rather prevent 50% of cases of a potentially deadly infection than none?
  2. Young and old most VULNERABLE.  Children and young adults below age 20, along with older adults above age 80, have the highest rates of the flu.Flu Vaccine Young Old Choose Control
  3. Flu KILLS.  People who die from the flu almost always have an underlying medical condition.  Women may be more likely to die from the flu than men.
  4. Everyone 6 months old and older SHOULD get the flu vaccine every year.  This hasn’t always been the case since recommendations have changed.  Infants younger than 6 months will be protected if everyone they have contact with is vaccinated.  The immunity you got from last year’s vaccine has faded over time and you have to get a vaccine again this year.  The vaccine usually changes every year.  There are new flu strains added to the vaccine every year based on what is most likely to be spread that year.  Not enough people are getting this vaccine.  Only 50% of American children and 70% of American adults age 65 and older got the vaccine last year.Flu Vaccine
  5. The vaccine does NOT cause the flu.  It can cause some side effects, like soreness where the injection was given, a fever, coughing, headache, or fatigue.  A severe allergic reaction is very rare — about 1 in 1,000,000 doses — and warrants immediate medical attention.  It takes about 2 weeks for your immune system to respond to the vaccine and fully protect you, so get the vaccine as soon as you can — ideally by October.
  6. Very FEW people should not get the vaccine.  If you have ever had Guillain-Barré Syndrome, you should not get the flu vaccine.  If you’ve had a severe allergy to any component of the flu vaccine, you shouldn’t get it.  Otherwise, get it!  If you have a fever or aren’t feeling well, wait until you’re feeling better to get it.  Some of the vaccines have a small amount of egg protein, so if you are allergic to eggs let your healthcare prover know so they can be sure to give you a vaccine that is safe for you.  People who can’t get the vaccine for safety reasons rely on everyone else to get it and keep them protected.
  7. PREGNANT women should get the vaccine.  Pregnant women have a higher risk of serious illness due to the flu.  The flu vaccine is an essential element of preconception, prenatal, and postpartum care, according to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.  The vaccine not only protects the mother, but also protects the newborn baby in the first months of life.Flu Vaccine Pregnant Pregnancy Choose Control
  8. Vaccines do NOT cause autism.  I’m not going to get into this issue because you can read all about it from the experts: CDC summary, CDC studies, and American Academy of Pediatrics recent statement.
  9. You have OPTIONS when it comes to the flu vaccines.  There are many different products available, ranging from shots to nasal mists.  You can also visit your doctor’s office or local pharmacy at your convenience to get your flu shot.  The vaccine is typically free with your insurance or from a community-based program.  Worst case, you may have to pay a small fee of about $20 for the vaccine.Flu Vaccine Nasal Flumist

For more information, check out the CDC website for this year’s flu season.


Photos by Seth Capitulo, Anil Jadhav, Tobias Lindman, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District via Flickr

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