According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the estimated number of seasonal influenza-associated deaths between the 1976-1977 and 2006-2007 flu season ranged from 3,000 to 49,000 people.
Why Get the Shot
Fortunately, flu infections can be prevented with an annual flu shot. The standard vaccine provides adequate protection against the H1N1 flu (swine flu) virus, the most common strain, as well as two other viruses. But interested persons can also ask about the vaccine that provides protection against four strains of the virus, while older people can request for the high-dose flu vaccine designed for adults 65 years and older.
The government body recommends that everyone 6 months and older should have the annual flu shot to reduce their risks for contracting the virus. The symptoms and complications from infections should be sufficient reason to have it.
When Will It Be Effective
In most people, the vaccine will be effective within two weeks after administration. But you will still benefit from the shot even when you have it during the flu season.
Keep in mind that the availability of the flu vaccine depends on private manufacturers’ production date completion. Healthcare providers, particularly doctors and nurses, begin vaccination as soon as the vaccines are available in their areas.
Why Get a New Vaccination Every Year
An annual flu shot is a must for everybody for two reasons. First, the antibody levels in your body decline over time so a new flu shot is a must to increase the number of antibodies. Second, flu viruses quickly evolve such that last year’s flu vaccine may likely be less effective against this year’s strains; private manufacturers release new flu vaccines every year to keep up with these new strains.
Who Should Get the Shot
While the CDC recommends that everybody 6 months old and above should get the shot, the following cohorts are strongly encouraged to get the vaccine because of their higher risks for contracting the virus and developing potentially fatal complications:
- Pregnant women
- Older adults (i.e., elderly people)
- Young children
It must be emphasized that children belonging to the 6 months to 8 years age cohort should ideally get two flu vaccines in a year for full protection. Ask your child’s pediatrician for more information as each case may be different.
People who also have increased risks of flu-related complications should also ask their doctors about the vaccine. These include people with asthma, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and HIV/AIDS.
But there are people who should not get shots or who should consult their doctors before receiving it from other sources. These include people with allergic reactions to eggs and people who have experienced severe reactions to a previous shot.
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