Why Is It Especially Important To Get The Flu Shot This Year
The most important reason to get a flu shot this year like any other year is to protect yourself from getting the flu or transmitting it to your family members and friends.
Other important considerations during the COVID-19 pandemic include:
- Reducing the strain on local and provincial healthcare systems. If you are protected against the flu, you will not require healthcare resources, which are severely burdened by COVID-19.
- Reducing unnecessary testing. Because symptoms of the flu and COVID-19 are similar, getting the flu shot will reduce unnecessary testing for COVID-19.
- Reducing the risk of getting sick with the flu and COVID-19 at the same time. Although there are promising options on the horizon, there is no vaccine available yet to protect people against COVID-19. However, getting a flu shot can help prevent the spread of the flu, which will decrease your chances of having both viruses at once.
- Reducing the risk of super-spreaders transmitting the flu. A super-spreader is a person who transmits an infection to a significantly greater number of other people than the average infected person. Children especially are considered to be super-spreaders, so its important that they get a flu shot to protect themselves as well as classmates, teachers, caregivers, and vulnerable relatives such as older grandparents, pregnant family members and those with a chronic disease.
Why Getting The Flu Vaccine Is More Important Than Ever This Year
Australians are being urged not to forget the flu jab, with an infectious diseases doctor naming this year perhaps one of the most important years ever to get the vaccine.
Director of infectious diseases at Mater Health Services, Paul Griffin, says getting the flu jab is particularly important this year based on the fact weve had really low flu numbers, because what we did for COVID was really effective against the flu, and weve had low flu vaccine rates.
Our population is really susceptible to the flu right now, he told Stephen Quartermain and Emily Power, filling in for Ross and Russel.
A lot of people underestimate the impact of the flu.
It can certainly result in loss of life and in a bad flu year we can lose in the order of a small number of thousands.
Professor Griffin also urged those who havent yet had a COVID-19 booster, and those eligible for a fourth dose, to receive those.
The thing this year to consider as well is even a little bit of flu around and a little bit of COVID, if we dont have people well vaccinated against both, is going to be a huge burden on our healthcare system.
Press PLAY below to hear more about the flu vaccine and why its so important this year
Why Does The Flu Vaccine Matter
Along with protecting you from getting infected, it reduces the spread of the virus and the need for medical care. With some hospitals already spread thin because of the pandemic, there is a just as much of a community need to prevent illness as there is on an individual basis. There are surges in patient volume every winter because of the flu, and when those are combined with pandemic surges, that could mean it becomes harder to get care when you really need it.
A strain on hospitals and clinics means a strain on patients and their families as well. Getting a flu vaccine is doing your part to stay healthy and keep our communities healthy.
You May Like: My Skin Hurts To Touch Flu
What Are Vaccines/immunization
The first time your body comes across the flu or any sort of germ that causes infection, its taken by surprise like, Woah, how did you get past all my skin and mucous and other barriers to infection? Its not prepared it needs to take a few days to make white blood cells that will attack that specific invader before you start to get better. After that, your body doesnt want to go through all the hard work it just did again in case you inhale some more of the same germ, so it keeps what we call memory cells that remember how to attack that specific germ. The next time you encounter that germ, those memory cells will recognize it right away and be like, Hey body, I already know how to attack and defeat this germ so we can get rid of it right away this time. This is called immunization.
Vaccines basically trick your body into thinking that its encountering a new infection so that you can make these memory cells and be ready for the next time you get infected by whatever germ you got vaccinated for AKA the first time you actually get sick with chickenpox, measles, hepatitis, etc. It does this by injecting dead, weakened, or chopped up pieces of the virus into your body that look close enough to the real deal to kick start your body into action, but wont get you sick. So by getting a vaccine against a certain microbe , youll have achieved immunization against that disease .
Should My Child Get A Flu Shot
Yes. All children over 6 months old should get a flu shot each year.
Babies and children 6 months to 9 years of age who have never had a flu shot will need 2 doses of the vaccine, given at least 4 weeks apart.
Those who have had one or more doses of the regular seasonal flu shot in the past, or children 9 years of age and older, will only need 1 dose per year.
The vaccine is especially important for children and youth who are at high risk of complications from the flu, including those who:
- are between 6 months and 5 years of age.
- have chronic heart or lung disorders serious enough to need regular medical follow-up.
- have chronic conditions that weaken the immune system, such as immune deficiencies, cancer, HIV or a treatment that causes immune suppression.
- have diabetes or other metabolic diseases.
- have chronic kidney disease.
- have to take acetylsalicylic acid on a daily basis.
- live in a chronic care facility.
- live in First Nation or Inuit communities.
- live with another child or adult who is at risk of complications from the flu.
Children under 5 years old are at higher risk of complications from the flu such as high fever, convulsions and pneumonia. If you have children younger than 5 years old or who have health complications, everyone living in the house should get a flu shot. This is especially important if you have children under 6 months old or if a member of your household is pregnant.
Don’t Miss: Which Flu Shot To Get This Year
Flu Vaccination Will Prevent Dual Infections
Because both the flu and the coronavirus can cause serious inflammation and fluid build-up in the lungs, having both at once can be extremely dangerous, Kuritzkes said.
Multiple viral respiratory infections can lead to super infections that are resistant to treatment and can increase complications, as well as death, he said.
Protecting children too young to be vaccinated against COVID is especially important with a flu shot, they at least will be shielded from one infection.
Its easy to lose track in the current COVID pandemic, but there are tens of thousands of seasonal flu deaths each season, Kuritzkes said. A lot of that is preventable with the vaccine.
When To Get A Flu Shot
“October is the golden month to be vaccinated,” Schaffner says. This will help protect you throughout the entire flu season, which in the Northern Hemisphere generally lasts from October to March, peaking in February.
If you don’t get vaccinated in October, you should still get vaccinated while flu shots are available. Flu shots are usually available from late September to late February.
Getting vaccinated early, like in July or August, is not recommended by the CDC, especially for older adults. The flu shot’s effectiveness will likely wear off it only lasts about six months giving you less protection later in the flu season.
Also Check: Are Flu Shots Good For A Year
Is There Enough Flu Vaccine To Go Around
With the demand for flu shots being so high this season, there are questions about whether there is enough flu vaccine to meet the needs in our community. People need not worry about flu shot availability. WDG Public Health has the ability for everyone who wants a flu shot in our community to get one.
Public Health receives and administers the flu vaccine directly to the public through Public Health flu shot appointments, as well as through distribution of the vaccine to health partners, such as local physicians. Public Health has dedicated vaccine coordinators who work directly with our partners to ensure timely delivery of the flu vaccine across the region. Pharmacies have a separate process to receive and administer their supply of flu vaccine.
There are several ways to get a flu shot this year:
- At select local pharmacies
Who Should Not Get The Nasal Flu Vaccine
- Children less than 2 years old .
- Those who are pregnant and people who have weakened immune systems. It is a live virus vaccine.
- People who have to take acetylsalicylic acid on a daily basis.
- People with severe asthma who have been treated with steroids or had severe wheezing in the past 7 days .
These people should get the injected vaccine.
Don’t Miss: Tylenol Cold And Flu Children’s Dosage
Safe And Effective Vaccination Against The Flu
Flu shots are a type of vaccine or immunization. Vaccines allow your body to develop immunity to specific diseases, without needing to become ill or infected.
Once youre vaccinated, youre protected against the condition targeted by that vaccine. And, vaccines protect entire communities, not just individuals, slowing or preventing the spread of infectious diseases between people.
Unlike the many pediatric vaccines given in early childhood, flu shots have to be updated each year. The vaccine is reformulated each year, as new variants of influenza mutate and circulate. Vaccine manufacturers use current studies and information to determine which variants are likely to become dominant in a given flu season.
Vaccines, including the flu shot, are safe to take. Flu shots are as effective as possible each year, and significantly reduce your risk of getting or spreading the flu.
What Is The Nasal Flu Vaccine
This type of flu vaccine is given as a nose spray instead of injection. Healthy children over the age of 2 can get the nasal flu vaccine. If your child has a chronic condition or illness, you should speak to your doctor to find out if the nasal flu vaccine is appropriate. The vaccine is given in 1 or 2 doses. Each dose is one squirt into each nostril.
- If your child is under 9 years of age and has received any flu vaccine before, they will only need 1 dose.
- If your child is under 9 years of age and hasnt received a flu vaccine before, they will need 2 doses, given at least 4 weeks apart.
This type of flu vaccine is not covered by all provincial or territorial health plans, which means you may have to pay for it.
Recommended Reading: Stronger Flu Shots For Seniors
Why Flu Shots Are Really Important This Year
The influenza virus is a single-stranded RNA organism.
Its officially flu season, which means sniffles, coughs, fevers, and more. But this flu season is different because of the pandemic, and the continued circulation of the coronavirus.
Last years flu season was much lighter than usual, because of social distancing and mask wearing. Typically, millions of people are affected by the flu every year and many die. The 2019-2020 flu season killed about 22,000 people in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. By comparison, during the 2020-2021 flu season it was about 700 people, Scientific American reports.
The low circulation of influenza last year caused the population to be what doctors call immunologically naive. Dr. Scott Hensley, a professor of microbiology at the University of Pennsylvania, explained that specifically in the case of influenza, many of us do not have robust immune responses because we have not been exposed to or infected with these viruses in quite some time.
Were not sure if the viruses will spread widely this year, but were afraid that once the viruses start spreading that they will start spreading very widely. And thats because so many of us have not seen these viruses in over a year-and-a-half, Hensley said.
The U.S. is entering an uneasy stretch of the pandemic. Despite progress, the delta surge is dragging on in certain regions. Can vaccines can ward off a big surge?
2 months ago
How Can I Make Sure My Family Is Protected As Best As Possible
- Talk to your health care team. If youre not sure what your child is due for, you can always call your health care team and they can let you know how to keep your child safe against preventable disease. They can also help to schedule an appointment in their office for your child and family.
- Remember: All children in Maine, ages 0-17, are able to get free vaccines through the Universal Childhood Immunization Program. This covers all children, regardless of ability to pay or insurance type.
- Look for community-based vaccine clinics. Across Maine and New England, there are a number of community-based vaccine clinics that you can access for your child and family. Many areas have options such as:
- Drive through flu vaccine stations
- School-based vaccine clinics
Flu Shots For Seniors
Seniors who are 65 years or older also have a heightened risk for serious complications due to the flu. As you get older, your immune system struggles more to defend you against illnesses like the flu. The CDC estimates that between 70-85% of seasonal deaths related to flu occur in patients 65 and older. Patients in this age range also account for at least half of seasonal hospitalizations due to flu.
Thats why older people need to be sure to get vaccinated against the flu. Because of the immune system weakening in senior patients, time flu shots for maximum protection during flu season. September and October are typically the right time for flu shots for older patients.
To schedule your vaccination appointment, or to learn more about the flu vaccine, get in touch with the team at Healthy Life Family Medicine today. Call now, or request an appointment online.
You Might Also Enjoy…
Vaccinate To Protect Others
When healthy people decline vaccination, it creates a risk for others in their community. Fewer than half of kids get vaccinated for influenza, leaving them at risk of catching the virus. Those who are low-income and uninsured are least likely to get the protection they need because they cant afford vaccination. The easiest way to prevent spreading disease to vulnerable people like children and the elderly is to get vaccinated.
This is because the flu vaccine is designed to protect you from common virus strains researchers discover during a flu season. Once you get a flu shot, it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies that protect you against the flu to develop in your body. You cant pass the contagion to another person if your body is able to resist those strains, which protects others around you.
The CDC believes that individual vaccinations have prevented thousands of hospital visits and illnesses from happening every flu season. In fact, vaccinations helped people avoid 2.5 million doctor visits and 3,000 deaths between 2015 2016 flu alone.
It only takes one day before symptoms develop in healthy people to pass the virus to others, and five to seven days after becoming sick. When you protect yourself from the flu, you are also protecting your community from it too.
You May Like: Can You Get Flu Shot If On Antibiotics
Why Is It So Important To Get Your Flu Shot This Year
Posted September 13, 2021 by Thomas File, MD and Shanu Agarwal, MD
Last winter, the community took several precautions to help stop the spread of COVID-19. From masks and social distancing to virtual work and school to cancelled events, an unforeseen positive side effect was a less intense flu season.
Flu cases documented during last years flu season were historically low by a wide margin. Medical professionals havent seen anything like it.
So with many precautions still in place amidst an ongoing pandemic, you may be wondering: is it even necessary to get this years flu shot?
Summa Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other health agencies across the country offer a resounding yes. In fact, medical experts are warning families of a potentially difficult flu season this year.
Many of the mandates enforced by law last winter are being lifted and strict precautions against COVID-19 are being relaxed, as people desperately try to get back to normal activity.
Whats more, mild flu seasons are often followed by bad ones because not enough natural immunity has been built up. When people recover from the flu, they retain some level of immunity that protects them against further infection. Because not many were sick with the flu last year, we may be entering this years flu season with a higher level of susceptibility than usual.
Who should get the flu shot?
When should I get the flu shot?
Is it safe to get the flu shot and COVID-19 vaccines together?
How To Get Your Flu Shot In 3 Easy Steps
Read Also: How Many Cases Of Flu In 2020