Why should people get vaccinated in flu season?
Get vaccinated in flu season
Clinical Services Department MC-21
Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and in some cases the lungs. This virus can cause mild or severe illness and can sometimes lead to death. Each flu season is different; therefore the infection with the virus can affect people in different ways. The annual seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself against the flu. Vaccination has been shown to have many benefits such as reducing the risk of influenza illness, hospitalizations, and even the risk of pediatric deaths.
How do flu vaccines work?
Influenza vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection cause by the viruses included in the vaccine.
The seasonal flu vaccine protects you against flu viruses that research shows will be the most common next season. Most flu vaccines provide protection against four different flu viruses (“quadrivalent”); one influenza A (H1N1) virus, one influenza A (H3N2) virus, and two influenza B viruses. There are also some vaccines that provide protection against three different influenza viruses (“trivalent”); one influenza A (H1N1) virus, one influenza A (H3N2) virus, and one influenza B virus. Two of the trivalent vaccines are specifically designed for people 65 years of age and older to create a stronger immune response. There is no preference for one flu vaccine over the other.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the use of any age-approved flu vaccine during flu season.
Who should get vaccinated this season?
Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine every season, with rare exceptions. Getting vaccinated against influenza is especially important for people at high risk for serious complications from the disease. Some of the people who are at high risk for serious complications include: adults 65 years of age and older, pregnant women, people with diabetes, young children, asthmatic patients, a history of cancer, HIV, and / or people who have heart disease or have suffered a cardiovascular event (e.g. heart attack).
This educational material is not intended as a substitute for a consultation with your nearest physician or pharmacist.