Have you gotten your flu vaccine yet? Flu activity is still low right now, but activity often starts to increase during and after October. It takes two weeks after vaccination for the body to mount its protective immune response, so get vaccinated now. Yearly vaccination is the first and most important step in protecting against flu, and it is recommended that everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated each year. It’s your best defense against influenza and its possible complications. Flu vaccination is also an important preventive tool for people with chronic health conditions.
This season, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that only appropriate injectable vaccines (flu shots) be used. The nasal spray flu vaccine (live attenuated influenza vaccine or LAIV) is not recommended for use during the 2016-2017 flu season because of concerns about effectiveness. No preferential recommendation is made for any one injectable influenza vaccine over another.
This season’s vaccines have been updated to better match circulating viruses. There is a new vaccine this season available for people 65 and older. In November 2015, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) licensed FLUAD™, which is a trivalent adjuvanted inactivated flu vaccine. An adjuvant is an ingredient added to a vaccine that helps create a stronger immune response to vaccination. This is the second vaccine designed and approved for use in people in this age group. Also available is the “high dose” flu vaccine called Fluzone® High Dose, which contains four-times the antigen as standard flu shots. Both of these vaccines are designed to improve the immune response to vaccination specifically in people 65 and older.
Getting an annual flu vaccine is the first and best way to protect yourself and your family from the flu. The more people who get vaccinated, the more people will be protected from flu, including older people, very young children, pregnant women and people with certain health conditions who are more vulnerable to serious flu complications.