Time for Flu Shots
Don’t rush out to the annual flu immunization clinic just yet. Complications in the production and distribution of the vaccine are expected to delay flu shots by four to six weeks. The optimal time to get a flu shot is in October or November, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It generally takes 10 days for a vaccination to start providing protection, so this might be a problem if early outbreaks are reported. There is no way to predict when flu season will hit, although it typically occurs from November to April.
According to health officials, quantities of the flu vaccine may be limited. Influenza vaccine shipments are not expected at the Health Alliance Pharmacy Services until late October. J. S., director of On-Site Operations for OccNet, suggests to employers, “It is our hope that the number of vaccinations ordered will be delivered. Scheduling for the flu shots may begin; however, the appointments must be made for November rather than October.” OccNet is the occupational health service of the Health Alliance.
Two problems account for the vaccination shortage. It has been difficult to formulate the vaccine, because one of the necessary strains could not be reproduced properly. Also, the Food and Drug Administration gave late approvals to the manufacturers of the vaccine.
The CDC advises a yearly flu shot for all people considered to be at “high risk” for contracting the virus. This means:
- All persons aged 50 and older (90 percent of flu-related deaths occur in people older than 65).
- People of any age with chronic diseases, weakened immunity, or severe forms of anemia.
- Residents of nursing homes and other health care facilities.
- Women who will be more than three months pregnant during flu season.
- Children or teenagers who are taking long-term aspirin therapy (which puts them at risk for Reye’s syndrome if they get the flu).
- Health care workers.
- Caregivers of household contacts of people at high risk.
How effective is the flu vaccine? This varies year to year, depending on the strain of the virus and how well the current vaccine (it changes yearly) protects against this year’s predominant strains. According to studies in healthy young adults, the flu vaccine is 70 – 90 percent effective in preventing illness. Studies also show that vaccination reduces hospitalization by 50 percent, the risk of developing pneumonia by 60 percent, and the risk of dying from complications by 75 – 80 percent for high-risk groups. The most common side effect is only soreness at the injection site. Some people may experience fever and body aches, but these symptoms are rare and short-lived.
Healthy Living Article List
|For Women||For Seniors||Fighting Cancer||Your Heart||Emergency 101|
|Work Smart||Bones, Muscles and Joints||Nutrition News||Advice From Our Docs|