Who should get the influenza vaccine?
Every person 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine yearly. Vaccination is very important for those at high risk of serious complications; this may include those with asthma, heart disease, diabetes, liver or kidney disease, or a weakened immune system. The flu vaccine has been shown to save lives of children! A new Centers for Disease Control (CDC) study published in 2017 shows that “flu vaccination significantly reduced a child’s risk of dying from influenza.” Though the vaccine may not completely prevent the flu in all persons, the fact that it can help prevent death from influenza, is a key reason we highly recommend this vaccine.
Can the vaccine give me the flu?
Thankfully, the flu vaccine cannot cause the influenza illness. The vaccine we administer in our office is killed (inactivated) and therefore cannot cause illness. Those receiving the vaccine may report common mild vaccine reactions such as soreness, swelling, or redness at the site of the injection, low grade fever, and muscle aches.
What are our options for the flu vaccine?
There are traditionally 2 flu vaccine options: the intramuscular influenza vaccine and the live attenuated intranasal influenza vaccine. We follow the recommendation by the American Academy of Pediatrics who this year recommend using what they deem the most effective vaccine, the intramuscular flu shot. If after this flu season, studies show that the intranasal influenza vaccine is effective, we may provide this option again for the following flu seasons.
Is there anyone who should not receive the flu shot?
Though there aren’t many people who should not get the influenza vaccine, infants under 6 months of age are one category that should not receive the vaccine. It is important that all older siblings and caregivers receive the flu vaccine to help prevent spread of influenza to the infant who is too young to vaccinate. The other major group of individuals who should not receive the flu shot are those with a severe and life-threatening allergy to the flu shot or its ingredients.
How effective is the flu vaccine?
The flu vaccine effectiveness varies from year to year. Typically, it reduces the risk of influenza illness between 40-60%. The vaccine can be life-saving in children; the CDC states that “flu vaccination significantly reduced a child’s risk of dying from influenza.”
Besides vaccination, how can I protect my family against the flu?
The best ways to prevent your family from influenza include: receiving the flu vaccine, washing hands often, covering coughs, and avoiding contact with those who are ill.