ARE YOU THINKING OF GETTING THE FLU SHOT THIS YEAR?
The CDC (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) says that only 20% of Americans get the flu shot each year and more than 40,000 get hospitalized each year. They recommend annual influenza vaccinations for everyone age 6 months or older in the fall season. The "flu shot"– an inactivated vaccine (containing killed virus) that is given with a needle, usually in the arm. The flu shot is approved for use in people older than 6 months, including healthy people and those with chronic medical conditions.
There are three different flu shots available regular flu shot approved for the age group as directed, a high-dose flu shot approved for people 65 and older, and an intra-dermal flu shot approved for people 18 to 64 years of age. CDC recommends that people get their seasonal flu vaccine as soon as vaccine becomes available in their community. Vaccination before December is best since this timing ensures that protective antibodies are in place before flu activity is typically at its highest. CDC continues to encourage people to get vaccinated throughout the flu season, which can begin as early as October and last as late as May. On February 24, 2010 vaccine experts agreed that everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine each year starting with the 2010-2011 flu season. The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) also gave their recommendation for "universal" flu vaccination in the U.S. to expand protection against the flu to more people.
While everyone should get a flu vaccine each flu season, it's especially important that the following groups get vaccinated either because they are at high risk of having serious flu-related complications or because they live with or care for people at high risk for developing flu-related complications:
- Pregnant women
- Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old
- People 50 years of age and older – People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions
- People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
- People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including:
- Health care workers
- Household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu
- Household contacts and out of home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated)
Pharmacies like Park Ave Pharmacy has certified immunization pharmacist located on 107 Park Ave in Paterson, NJ provides flu shots as well as expert guidance and can help answer any questions that you may have about the Flu Shot or any of your other medications, most insurance plans cover the cost. You don't need to make appointment, walk-ins welcome.