Published: Sun, September 30, 2018
Medicine | By Earnest Bishop

Our opinion: Get vaccinated for flu season

Our opinion: Get vaccinated for flu season

The Jefferson County Health Unit held its annual mass flu shot clinic from 8:30 4:30 p.m. Thursday to provide Jefferson County residents with free flu vaccinations.

The Centers for Disease Control says 80,000 people died last winter of the flu.

Getting the flu vaccine will at the very least give some protection against the flu and could also make the difference between a severe illness resulting in hospitalization and a mild one, Schaffner said. During most influenza seasons, about 80 percent of reported pediatric deaths occur in children who have not been fully vaccinated against flu.

You may be exposed to a flu virus shortly before getting vaccinated or during the period that it takes the body to gain protection after getting vaccinated. It's about everyone else around you.

Approximately 62 percent of Minnesota children between the ages of 6 months old and 17 years old received vaccinations in the 2017-18 season. For example, infants do not qualify for a flu shot until they turn 6 months of age.

"Some effectiveness is better than no effectiveness", Adams said. "If you start to get sick stay home".

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The CDC estimates that the overall efficacy of the seasonal flu vaccine for last season - not needing to seek medical care - was around 40 percent.

"It was a really tough flu year", Colin Bucks told BuzzFeed News.

It's the most detailed picture of the devastating reach of the respiratory virus, which sickened millions of people as overwhelmed hospitals pitched tents to treat patients. "Disability - being unable to care for themselves", he added. "The best way to protect yourself, regardless of the effectiveness, is with a flu vaccination", Adams said. People with allergies to vaccine ingredients can often receive the vaccine safely, if it is given in a doctor's office where they can be monitored. He encouraged pneumococcal vaccination, too.

The vaccine strain alters year to year to ensure it protects against each season's unique disease, he said, and this year's version has two changes that should help reduce the morbidity and mortality rates of the flu. Both types are created to help initiate a more robust immune response. This is the case for recombinant influenza vaccines. Flu vaccines given with a needle (i.e., flu shots) are now made in two ways: the vaccine is made either with flu viruses that have been "inactivated" (killed) and that therefore are not infectious, or using only a single gene from a flu virus (as opposed to the full virus) in order to produce an immune response without causing infection.

"The vaccine for children is no longer an injection; it is a simple nasal spray that takes a few seconds to administer".

In addition to standard injected forms of the vaccine, the CDC earlier this year reinstated its recommendation for Flumist Quadrivalent.

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