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It’s Not Too Late to Get Your Flu Vaccine
It’s Not too Late to Get Your Flu Vaccine
While the ideal time to get your flu shot is by the end of October, it’s not too late to get yours now if you haven’t already! The CDC is already seeing elevated levels of influenza across the country and estimating 20 million illnesses, 210,000 hospitalizations, and 13,000 deaths from flu this season (including 61 pediatric flu deaths so far). With a bad flu season already underway, it’s essential to get your vaccine now. Getting your flu shot is the single best way to help protect yourself and your family from the flu each year.
The Flu Vaccine: Safe and Effective
Flu vaccines have been around since 1945 and have extremely good safety records. The current flu vaccines go through many years of trials and research before they are even available to the public. A common misconception about the flu vaccine is that they can cause you to get the flu which is completely incorrect. In order to cause infection, the virus needs to reproduce and the flu vaccine does not contain viruses that can reproduce. According to the CDC, hundreds of millions of Americans have safely received flu vaccines over the past 50 years, and there has been extensive research supporting the safety of flu vaccines.
The flu vaccine is the best way to reduce your chances of getting the flu and spreading it to others. It not only helps prevent illness, it helps everyone stay on track; keeping students in school and adults at work. Flu vaccines can reduce your chances of getting sick with the flu by up to 60%. Even if you still get sick, people who are vaccinated have less severe flu symptoms and are less likely to be hospitalized or die from flu-related complications. Since the virus and the vaccine change every year, it is important to get a flu vaccination annually. Unlike other vaccines, the flu vaccine is only meant to last one year which is another very important reason we urge you to get it annually. The CDC is also reporting that the majority of influenza viruses tested are in the same genetic subclade as–and antigenically similar to–the influenza viruses included in this season’s vaccine.
Scheduling Your Vaccine: It’s Simple and Quick!
Now that you know the flu vaccine is proven safe and effective, we ask that you make sure to get your flu vaccine this year – you can schedule it right now! The flu vaccine is extremely accessible; you can schedule an appointment to get the flu vaccine with your doctor, urgent care or even your local pharmacy (you can walk into most places to schedule one and be seen in minutes).
Flu season peaks between December and March, with flu infections and hospitalizations often at a high in February. With the current trends the CDC is reporting on, this is on track to happen even earlier this year (and happening at a faster rate than this time last year). If you need help finding a place to get a flu vaccine, or if you’re looking for a specific type (like the nasal mist, egg-free, etc.) check out our Vaccine Finder.
When looking to schedule your flu vaccine, notice there are two types of vaccines. Inactivated vaccines contain a dead/killed virus that are administered as a “shot” with a needle. Nasal spray vaccines contain a live, weakened flu virus that is sprayed into the nose instead of being administered as an injection. Remember: it is recommended that everyone ages 6 months and older should get the flu vaccine each year.
Make sure you are taking steps to protect yourself and your family this season – it’s not too late. Check out the CDC’s influenza summary map to stay up-to-date on flu activity in the United States.