Updated: May 5
Now is a great time to get your flu vaccine! While we remain focused on the COVID-19 pandemic, we can’t forget about the flu as we move into the winter season. Getting a flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones against the flu, and it is more important now than ever. Receiving a vaccine can keep you from getting sick, reduce the severity of illness if you do get sick, and can also reduce the risk of hospitalization with the flu. Vaccination is especially important for people who are at a higher risk of developing serious flu complications or who are in contact with higher risk individuals.
CDC recommends a flu vaccine for everyone ages 6 months and up each year, ideally given by the end of October, but can be given as late as January. It is important to get vaccinated before viruses begin spreading, as it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop and provide protection against virus infection.
There are two reasons a flu vaccine is given yearly:
A person’s immunity declines over time, so an annual flu vaccine is needed for optimal protection.
Flu viruses are constantly changing. The composition is reviewed each year and vaccines are updated to protect against the viruses that will be the most common during that season.
There may be normal, minor side effects after getting a flu vaccine, these can include: soreness, redness and/or swelling where the shot was given, headache, fever, muscle aches, nausea, and fatigue. A flu shot can also be administered at the same time as other vaccines, so there is no need to wait in between a flu vaccine and another immunization. It is safe to receive a flu shot one day and get a pneumonia vaccine the next, or even better to receive them the same day, initiating an immune response and protection against disease.
It is important for all individuals to get vaccinated, but there are a couple groups that it is especially important for. A high dose option has been recommended, for ages 65 and up. This vaccine promotes a stronger immune response in this population, which in turn provides more protection against flu illness. People 65 and older should also be up to date with pneumococcal vaccinations. Individuals should speak with their physician about which pneumonia vaccines they should receive.
Another important group is pregnant women. A flu vaccine helps protect against the flu during and after pregnancy. In addition to protecting a pregnant mom, a flu vaccine given during pregnancy helps protect the baby when they are too young to be vaccinated.
If you have any questions about flu vaccination, call our office today and speak with a nurse!