Medical experts are proposing that a noticeable increase in flu cases could occur in the United States this year. This means that getting a flu shot this year is extremely important. Flu season has been different from its usual patterns due to COVID-19, meaning this year’s season is likely to be unpredictable.
Influenza rates were extremely low in 2021 due to protective measures relating to COVID-19. However, prolonged cases of the flu have been happening in the United States, with patients still being treated during the summer. Due to mask-wearing and social distancing, people’s immune systems are likely to be much weaker than they would normally be. Therefore, a larger amount of people are expected to have severe infections from the flu.
Flu Shot Guidelines
The CDC recently released new guidelines regarding flu vaccination for this year. They state that every person aged 6 months and older should get their flu shot.
There is a multitude of flu vaccine options available. These include egg-free vaccines for those who have allergies, nasal spray vaccines, and higher potency vaccines aimed at elderly populations.
New Flu Vaccines
The CDC announced in June of this year that there are three higher potency vaccines available for people aged 65 and older. These vaccines are designed to promote a stronger immune system for immunocompromised groups. Since everyone aged 65 and older in the United States is eligible for Medicare, they will be able to get these flu shots for no cost. Due to the cost effectiveness of these new flu vaccines, it is highly recommended for everyone falling into the 65 and older age category to receive their flu shot.
Flu vaccine manufacturers are expected to release these new vaccines to medical facilities, like pharmacies and clinics, early on. However, medical experts are warning against getting a flu shot too early.
When to Get Vaccinated
New scientific data has shown that virus protection provided by the flu vaccine only lasts 4 to 6 months. Therefore, it is recommended to wait until late September or early October to get vaccinated. However, the CDC stresses the importance of getting a flu shot before peak flu season. The end of October is the latest you should wait to get vaccinated against the flu.
Early vaccination is a recommended option in some cases. If you are receiving your flu shot in two doses, then it is recommended to receive your first dose as soon as flu vaccines are available. Also, those in the third trimester of pregnancy may also be eligible for an early flu shot.
It typically takes around two weeks after receiving a vaccine for the body to build antibiotic immunity that will protect against the flu. It is not enough to rely on previous flu vaccinations, as the immunity provided decreases over time and influenza is likely to have mutated some since last year. Getting an updated vaccine is crucial to staying protected against the flu.
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Healthline (2022, August 25). Flu Season Could Start Early: When’s the Best Time to Get Your Shot? Retrieved from: https://www.healthline.com/health-news/flu-season-could-start-early-whens-the-best-time-to-get-your-shot