Flu Shot or Not?
The biggest news this season is the flu. Every single American state has had cases of the flu except Hawaii. It has been called an outbreak, an epidemic even, with millions of American already vaccinated. Have you gotten your flu shot yet? If you are hesitant read some of the facts below.
According to the CDC, getting an annual flu vaccine is the ideal way to protect yourself and your family. Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, missed work and school, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations.
The 2017-2018 Flu Season Recommendations
- Do not use the nasal spray flu vaccine (LAIV) for this flu season. Only injectable flu shots are recommended, just as last year.
- Flu vaccines have been updated to better match circulating viruses (the influenza A(H1N1) component was updated).
- A quadrivalent recombinant flu vaccine (“Flublok Quadrivalent” RIV) is newly available this season. (Last season, only trivalent recombinant flu vaccine was available.)
- A quadrivalent inactivated flu vaccine, “Afluria Quadrivalent” IIV, was licensed last season after the annual recommendations were published.
What flu vaccines are recommended this season?
This season, only injectable flu vaccines (flu shots) are recommended. Some flu shots protect against three flu viruses and some protect against four flu viruses.
Options this season include:
- Standard dose flu shots. Most are given into the muscle (usually with a needle, but one can be given to some people with a jet injector). One is given into the skin.
- High-dose shots for older people.
- Shots made with adjuvant for older people.
- Shots made with virus grown in cell culture.
- Shots made using a vaccine production technology (recombinant vaccine) that does not require the use of flu virus.
Live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) – or the nasal spray vaccine – is not recommended for use during the 2017-2018 season because of concerns about its effectiveness.
What viruses will the 2017-2018 flu vaccines protect against?
There are many different flu viruses and they are constantly changing. The composition of U.S. flu vaccines is reviewed annually and updated as needed to match circulating flu viruses. Flu vaccines protect against the three or four viruses (depending on vaccine) that research suggests will be most common.
Should I Get Vaccinated?
You should get a flu vaccine now, if you haven’t gotten one already this season. It’s best to get vaccinated before flu begins spreading in your community. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body that protect against flu. CDC recommends that people get a flu vaccine by the end of October, if possible.