Still Time to Get Flu Vaccine

Thursday, Dec 11, 2014
Flu Shot

Don't let recent media reports dissuade you. The flu vaccine is still the best protection against the flu, and it's not too late to get vaccinated.

Still haven't gotten your flu shot?

Discouraged by reports that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says this year's vaccine might not be totally effective?

Don't be.

"Flu season is just beginning and it is not too late to get vaccinated. Vaccination is still our best defense against influenza," says Vera Cessna BSN, RN, CIC, director of Infection Prevention at Doylestown Hospital.

The CDC has stated that about half of the flu viruses analyzed are "drift variants: viruses with antigenic or genetic changes that make them different from that season's vaccine virus."

The flu vaccine is still a good idea. "Even in seasons where the circulating flu strain has drifted the vaccination may lead to milder symptoms or protect against other strains that occur later in the season," notes Vera.

The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get vaccinated each year for the flu. To highlight the importance of vaccination, the CDC established National Influenza Vaccination Week, which is this week (Dec. 7-13).

Flu activity usually peaks in the U.S. between December and February. The flu season in general is considered as early as October and can run as late as May.

Remember, you cannot get the flu from the flu vaccine.

Once you do get vaccinated, it takes about two weeks for the body's immune response to fully kick in. "So if you haven't gotten the vaccine, go and get it so you can be well and stay well for the upcoming holidays," says Krista Doline, BS, MT (ASCP), CIC, who works along with Vera in Infection Prevention at Doylestown Hospital.

"Vaccination still offers protection and may reduce the likelihood of severe outcomes such as hospitalization and death. If not for you, get it to protect your family and loved ones," says Krista.

She adds, "Make an appointment with your family doctor or your child's pediatrician today. Call or visit your local pharmacy, which may be offering flu shots that can be covered by your insurance. If you don't see a regular doctor, you can get a flu vaccine somewhere else, like a health department, urgent care clinic, and often your school, college health center, or work. It might just save your life."

Want to learn more? Visit flu.gov for information about symptoms, where to get a vaccine locally, tips for caring for a loved one with the flu, and more.

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