As the fall approaches, so does the annual flu season. The CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older get a flu vaccine every year.
It will be very important to get the flu shot this year given that we are likely to see both the flu virus and COVID-19 circulating. Preventing the flu will save lives and preserve health care resources during the COVID-19 pandemic. The flu and COVID -19 are different diseases, but transmit in a similar way. Everything we do to impact COVID-19 transmission will help with the flu. Protective measures like mask-wearing and social distancing could help lessen the impact of the flu season.
It’s best to get your flu shot in late September or early October, so protection can last throughout the flu season, which typically ends around March or April. The vaccine lasts about six months.
There is a high-dose shot available for people over 65. High-Dose contains four times the antigen that’s in a standard dose, effectively making it a stronger version of the regular flu shot.
CDC said two types of vaccines are available for the 2020-2021 season: the trivalent and quadrivalent. Approximately 99% of the projected vaccine supply produced for the 2020-2021 flu season will be quadrivalent (4-component) vaccines. Trivalents contain two flu A strains and one flu B strain and are available only as high-dose vaccines. Quadrivalents contain those three strains plus an additional flu B strain, and they can be high- or standard-dose vaccines.
There are numerous benefits of taking the flu vaccine, such as:
- Keep you from getting sick with flu.
- Help you get back on your feet sooner if you do get sick with the flu.
- Help you and your family members reduce your risk of serious flu illness and flu complications, including hospitalization and death.
- Help protect people around you, including those who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness and complications due to age and/or certain chronic health conditions.
- Protect women during and after pregnancy.
Please talk to your healthcare provider and get your flu shot soon!