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Is it too late to get the flu vaccine?

By | Rachel Brooks

Contributor | Telegraph Local 

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Pictured above, a prototype of a Universal flu vaccine tested in 2017.

If you’ve watched the flu stats for this year, you know that many states are in the red. This flu season has been more ferocious than most. This is due to a strain that is more common in the springtime than in early winter.  Is it too late to be immunized for this year’s flu?

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It is better to get immunized before any endemic disease season. Citing the FDA, the best time to get the flu shot would have been between October-November. FDA calls the flu vaccine the best preventive measure for the spread of flu virus. This is a vaccination that is typically administered once per year to each patient. Each strain of the flu is different. Every season is different. So, the vaccine addresses the strain that is observed as prevalent for the year in which it is given. 

 

Even though pre the flu season is the best time to get the shot, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still consider it at this point in the season. The reason being? Flu season extends from October to May. While the peak of cases emerge in December and then February, cases will still be seen into the early summer months. As the season progresses, the vaccinations issued are adjusted to deal with the viral incidents. This can happen because world health entities such as the World Health Organization, CDC, and FDA along with other health practices work together to observe flu viruses each year to make statistical predictions for flu the next year. 

 

CDC estimates that 7.1 million flu illnesses were prevented by flu vaccination in the years 2017-2018. CDC reports that 8,000 flu mortalities were avoided. 

 

Citing ABC 7, doctors in California are urging patients to still get the flu vaccination even this close to the Christmas holiday. 

 

Doctors who spoke with ABC 7 also stated that patients who receive the shot sometimes feel mildly ill afterward. However, this does not mean that the vaccine gave you the flu. Immunization is supposed to introduce an immuno-response in your body. That feeling of sickness if your body responding to the vaccination. It should help to prevent you from getting a more serious strain of flu disease. 

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Citing ABC 7, the virus hitting California hardest this week is the Influenza B Victoria strain. This year’s shot includes the Influenza B Victoria strain. It also includes A(H1N1) and A(H3N2) vaccine components in each dose. The fourth strain for this year is called B-Yamagata. Dr. Taege, who spoke with ABC 7 news, stated that receiving this vaccine at any stage of the flu season should lessen your chances of becoming ill. 

 

All people ages 6 months or older are recommended to get an annual vaccine. Yet, who should not receive the flu vaccine? Citing the CDC, the list of people who should not get an annual flu vaccine is as follows: 

  • Children who are younger than 6 months of age. Infants and babies between 0-6 months old are too young to be immunized. AND
  • People with severe, life-threatening allergies to the flu vaccine or any ingredient in the vaccine. This can include gelatin, antibiotics, and other ingredients. 
  • Special regards of precaution are given to those with egg product allergies. Those who have documented egg allergies should be vaccinated in an inpatient or outpatient treatment facility with a healthcare professional trained to observe the signs of a severe allergic reaction. 
  • If you have ever had Guillain-Bare Syndrome, you should not receive the flu vaccination before a physician sign-off. Talk with your doctor about your GBS history to learn more about flu treatment, with GBS history patients. 

 

Flu vaccine drugs that are considered egg-free are Flublok Quadrivalent and Flucevax Quadrivalent. Egg allergy impacts 1.3% of adults and 0.2% of children. You can read more about egg allergy and flu vaccine at the CDC. 

 

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