Arrowhead Health Centers’ Medical Director, Dr. Janice Johnston, talks with Ch12 News about the new flu shots for this year. This year, the vaccine protects against 4 different strains of the flu virus. Vaccines typically change every year since the flu virus quickly adapts and new strains develop year over year. Also, the CDC has pulled the flu mist which was quite popular due to its application which did not require the use of a needle. Unfortunately, the mist was only shown to be about 6% effective in fighting the disease.
What You Need to Know About the New Flu Shots
Flu by the Numbers
5% to 20% — Percentage of the U.S. population that will get the flu, on average, each year.
200,000 — Average number of Americans hospitalized each year because of problems with the illness.
3,000 to 49,000 — Number of people who die each year from flu-related causes in the U.S.
For the Young and Old
The CDC recommends that infants as young as 6 months should get a flu shot. It’s even ok for women who are pregnant to get vaccinated. However, if you have already had the flu virus this year, then there is no need to schedule a flu shot and you can wait until the next flu season.
The Sooner the Better
As the flu season wears on, it is recommended that you get a flu shot as soon as possible. It takes up to 2 weeks to develop disease-fighting antibodies after receiving the new flu shots, so the longer you wait, the higher your chances of exposure to the virus.
The Effectiveness of the New Flu Shots
The CDC states that the Flu Shot is usually about 60% effective. That statistic, however, is only for healthy adults. For instance, children under 24 months of age and for older adults, who’s natural immunity is weaker as they age, the shot is less effective.