Published: Fri, September 29, 2017
Health Care | By Oscar Goodwin

Flu season: When should you get vaccinated?

Flu season: When should you get vaccinated?

The flu vaccine is not 100 percent effective ― not only because of the differences in virus strains attacking us, but also based on the person getting the shot and whether they develop a strong protective immune response.

The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority says improved access to nurse practitioners and family physicians has resulted in an increase in people utilizing other options to obtain the influenza vaccine.

Investigators from the University of Nottingham said their study is the first to examine several psychological and behavioral factors that have been shown to affect how well vaccinations work.

Among children and teens, the number who were vaccinated last year didn't change from the year before, remaining at about 59 percent.

For quadrivalent vaccines that contain two influenza B strains, World Health Organization experts recommend adding Brisbane/60/2008-like virus, a Victoria-lineage virus what was a component of trivalent versions of the Southern Hemisphere's current vaccine as well as the Northern Hemisphere's 2017-18 season vaccines.

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Dan Jernigan, MD, MPH, with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, was asked about the WHO's new H3N2 component recommendation today at an annual news briefing hosted by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) to raise awareness about seasonal flu vaccination.

Patients with insurance cards should bring them.

Flu season in the U.S. can begin as early as October and last as late as May, so the annual seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to reduce your risk of getting sick and spreading it to others.

The flu shot, of course, is not ideal, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says getting vaccinated reduces the chance of catching the flu by 40 to 60 percent.

The flu vaccine provides the best protection available against a virus that can cause severe illness. "We encourage everyone six months and older to get vaccinated every year".

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But too few children and adults get their yearly flu shot, he noted.

- Wide variation in influenza coverage was seen across states among children age 6 months to 17 years ranging from 43 percent (Wyoming) to 74.2 percent (Rhode Island) and in adults age 18 years and older from 33.4 percent (Nevada) to 51.1 percent (South Dakota).

During the 2016-2017 flu season, the hospitalization rate was double that of the 2015-2016 season and higher across all age groups.

Although the vaccination rate among health care workers seems high, it ranged from 92 percent of those who worked in hospitals, to 68 percent of those working in nursing homes and to 76 percent in clinics. Contrary to popular myths, the flu vaccination does not give you the flu. Pneumococcal disease is often a common and deadly complication of influenza.

According to the Center for Disease Control, it is still not recommended to use the nasal spray flu vaccine this year.

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