Flu Facts Support Early Vaccination
Sep 4th, 2014
You see it all the time: Get Your Flu Shot Today! So much that you might be thinking, “Right. Whatever. Flu shot, schmoo shot. I’ll get one later.”
But did you know that it’s never too early in the season to receive your yearly flu vaccination?
According to all evidence and based on the recommendation of the CDC, the reduced risk of infection will last throughout the entire flu season, even if the vaccine is administered as early as August. While a flu vaccination is not a guarantee against getting the flu, it will significantly reduce the risk of infection from one of the strains included in the vaccine.
Another important reason to get vaccinated early is that it takes two weeks for the vaccine to protect you. Many people don’t remember to get vaccinated until they’ve been around someone who has gotten sick, and by then it’s usually too late. It is entirely possible that someone exposed to the virus before or shortly after getting the vaccination might still come down with the flu. This could lead to the mistaken belief that the vaccination caused the flu, which is not scientifically possible. Some people do experience side effects from the vaccination that could be mistaken for flu symptoms, such as fever and malaise.
The CDC recommends that every person 6 months of age or older in the U.S. get a flu vaccination every year, with rare exceptions. There are a number of different types of flu vaccinations that are scheduled to be available this year. Here is a summary of information available on the CDC website. http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/flu/default.htm
- Standard Dose: A traditional flu shot, grown in eggs, that has been available for many years. Still an excellent choice and available in formulations approved for people from 6 months old and up.
- High Dose: Designed specifically for maximum protection in people 65 and older. At this age our immune system may not respond the way it did at a younger age. Data shows that the higher dose creates a stronger immune response.
- Cell Based Egg-Free:
o A standard dose vaccine is available that was designed using a manufacturing process which produces flu virus grown in animal cells instead of eggs. Approved for 18 and older.
o A standard dose vaccine is available that does not contain the actual virus. Proteins from the virus are produced in cells and purified to create the vaccine. Approved for people 18 through 49 years of age.
- Intradermal: A standard dose vaccine administered with a tiny needle that pierces the skin and delivers the vaccine without penetrating into muscle tissue. Approved for people 18 through 64 years of age.
- Quadrivalent: A standard dose vaccine that contains 4 strains of flu virus. All the previously mentioned vaccines contain only 3. This vaccine may give broader protection then the traditional trivalent. Available in formulations approved for people 6 months old and up.
- Nasal Spray: A standard dose, quadrivalent flu vaccine containing live attenuated virus. This is only approved for people 2 through 49 years of age who are healthy, not pregnant, and do not have certain medical conditions including asthma, diabetes, and heart conditions.
The CDC does not recommend one vaccine over another. The important thing is to get a flu vaccination every year. Our pharmacists are professionally trained immunizers and will screen for precautions and contraindications prior to administering any flu vaccine. Feel free to talk to our pharmacists for more information about which flu vaccine is right for you!