October marks the beginning of the flu season, which means people are out getting their flu shots to prepare. However, because the flu shot is updated based on the type of virus circulating in the country each year, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a flu shot from last year won’t necessarily protect you this year. People might be getting caught up considering how effective the flu shot was in 2019, but it’s better to keep getting vaccinated than to take your chances at the end of the day.
It’s that time of year again. The leaves are changing colour, the weather is cooling down, and everyone is getting sick. No, not the common cold- we’re talking about the flu. Millions of people contract the flu every year, and thousands die from it. But there is good news: the flu shot can help protect you from this deadly disease.
The flu shot is a vaccine that contains dead or weakened viruses. When these viruses enter your body, they stimulate your immune system to produce antibodies. These antibodies help fight off infection if you are exposed to the live virus. The flu shot is highly effective, and it’s recommended for everyone over the age of six months. So don’t wait- get your flu shot today.
Everyone 6 months and older should get the flu shot
The flu shot is your best defence against the flu. It can save lives by:
- protecting you, if you are exposed to the virus
- preventing you from getting very sick
- defending people close to you
- because you are less likely to spread the virus
The flu shot is recommended for everyone six months and older, especially
People at high risk of complications from the flu
people with health conditions, such as:
- cancer and other immune compromising conditions
- heart disease
- lung disease
- kidney disease
- neurologic or neurodevelopment conditions
- children up to 18 years of age undergoing treatment for long periods with acetylsalicylic acid (ASA)
- people 65 years and older
- people who live in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities
- children under five years of age
- pregnant women or those planning to get pregnant
- Indigenous peoples
People who can pass on the flu virus to those at high risk
- childcare providers
- healthcare providers
- family and other household members
- those who provide services in closed or relatively closed settings to people at high risk, such as crew on a ship
Get a flu shot every year.
It would be best if you got a new flu shot every year because:
- the type of flu virus usually changes from year to year
- a new vaccine is created every year to protect you each flu season
- effectiveness of the flu shot can wear off, so you need a new one every year to stay protected
The flu shot is effective.
The effectiveness of the vaccine varies from season to season. It depends on hIn addition, it well the vaccine matches the circulating flu viruses and the health and age of the person getting the flu shot.
The viruses circulating in the population can sometimes change when it takes to produce a vaccine. When this happens during the flu season, the flu shot may not work as well as expected.
It is also important to remember that the flu shot protects against several different flu viruses each season. Even when there is a less-than-ideal match or lower effectiveness against one virus, the seasonal flu shot can still protect against the remaining two or three viruses. If you do get the flu, the flu shot may reduce the severity of your symptoms.
Getting your flu shot is still the most effective way to protect yourself against the flu and flu-related complications.
The flu shot is safe
- severe reactions are infrequent
- you can’t get the flu from the flu shot
- most people have no side effects from the flu shot
2019-2020 flu vaccine
This season’s flu shot will protect you against:
- Influenza A(H1N1)
- Influenza A(H3N2)
- Influenza B
This story originally appeared on Immunodeficiency Canada and has been reproduced with permission.