CLEVELAND CLINIC (ABC4 News) – The first week of December is National Influenza Vaccination Week. And while fall is the best time for flu shots, if you missed your flu vaccination – don’t worry.
According to Alan Taege, M.D., of Cleveland Clinic, there’s still time to get yourself protected against the flu. “The recommendations are to try to obtain it from October to November, but typically, we have not had the large outbreak of influenza yet, until sometimes well into the next year, so, it’s really never too late to get the vaccine,” he said. Dr. Taege said some people don’t realize they need a new flu shot every year – but they do because the strain of influenza varies from year to year.
Each year, experts conduct research to try and predict the specific types of influenza that will be the most prevalent. So each season’s vaccine is produced to be the best possible match for whatever type of influenza is anticipated in that particular year.
Dr. Taege said flu vaccination is especially important for very young children, over the age of six months – as well as pregnant women, and adults over the age of 65. Because their immune systems are not very strong, these individuals have a higher risk of suffering complications, should they get the flu.
For people over the age of 65, Dr. Taege said there is a high-dose vaccine that provides extra potency in order to try to develop better antibodies for those individuals to be able to fight off the flu.
Having more healthy people vaccinated also helps protect the most vulnerable in the community. “By having large numbers of people in a population vaccinated, you can develop what’s called ‘herd immunity,’ said Dr. Taege. “This means, that if you have large numbers who are protected from that illness, it is unlikely that that particular illness will have the ability to spread widely throughout the population.”
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