December 6th-12th is National Influenza Vaccination Week. It serves as the perfect reminder that everyone six months of age and older should get a flu vaccine each year, unless directed not to do so by their doctor. And with COVID-19 cases on the rise as we enter peak flu season, it’s more important than ever to keep yourself safe.
Let’s take a look at some frequently asked questions regarding the influenza vaccination:
What are the benefits of getting the flu shot?
The obvious benefit of getting the flu shot is that it will likely prevent you from getting sick with influenza this year. The flu vaccine prevents millions of illnesses and flu-related doctor’s visits every year — according to the Centers for Disease Control, flu vaccination prevented an estimated 4.4 million cases of influenza in the 2018-2019 season. Plus, studies have shown that getting vaccinated reduces the severity of illness in people who get vaccinated but still get sick with the flu.
Who should get vaccinated?
The CDC recommends everyone six months of age and older should get a flu vaccine. It’s particularly important for individuals who are at a high risk of complications from the flu. The vaccine is also highly recommended for pregnant women, people with chronic health problems, and adults 65 years of age and older.
Who shouldn’t get vaccinated?
Children under six months of age are too young to receive a flu shot. People with severe allergies to the flu vaccine or an ingredient in the vaccine (antibiotics, gelatin, etc.) should also avoid it. But most healthy adults should get the flu vaccine in order to be safe.
Ultimately, it’s up to you and your doctor whether or not the flu vaccine is right for you. Consult your healthcare professional to learn more.
When should I get vaccinated?
It takes about two weeks after the vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and start providing protection. So, it’s best to get your flu shot before the virus starts circulating in your community. The CDC recommends that people get their flu shot by the end of October, although it’s still a good idea after that. Better late than never!
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