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
"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
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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