It’s still summer but the flu shot is already available. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that as soon as it’s available, you should get it, “Based on the CDC recommendation, it should last through the whole flu season.” says registered pharmacist Nikki Price who talked to us about the vaccine on our weekly Facebook Live show, Health Happens.
If the fair you visit isn’t offering the flu vaccine, you can still get a voucher to bring to any Albertsons or Safety to get a free flu shot.
How does the flu shot work?
The flu shot protects against three or four influenza viruses that researchers believe to be the most prevalent that season. It usually takes about two weeks after vaccination for the antibodies to develop in your body.
Getting a flu shot also protects those who are not able to get one, such as those who are too young or who have a medical condition preventing them from being able to receive the vaccine. When more people get vaccinated against the flu, less flu can spread through that community.
How effective is the flu vaccine?
The CDC conducts studies each year to determine how effective the flu vaccine is. Effectiveness can vary but, according to the CDC, recent studies show that flu vaccination reduces the risk of flu illness by between 40% and 60% among the overall population during seasons when most circulating flu viruses are well-matched to the flu vaccine.
“No matter what the effectiveness was the year previous to that, it is always recommended to get the vaccine,” adds Price. “It not only protects you but even if, by chance you were to get the flu, you are still less likely to be hospitalized, and have less severe symptoms,” she says.
Can the flu vaccine give you the flu?
There are many misconceptions about the flu vaccine. The CDC says the flu shot cannot cause flu illness.
“It’s actually impossible to do because the flu shot is a dead virus, it’s not a live vaccine. So if you still get the flu you either were exposed to the flu prior to getting the flu shot or it takes two full weeks for full immunity to take place after getting your flu shot,” says Price.
Why get vaccinated?
Believe it or not, some people can die from the flu. By vaccinating yourself, you’re protecting you and others – maybe even your loved ones.
Who should get a flu shot?
Everyone over 6 months of age should be vaccinated. Those most at risk for the flu virus include:
- Children under the age of 5
- Adults over the age of 65
- Pregnant women
- People with certain medical conditions
Together, 9Health Fair and Safeway/Albertsons is making it easy and affordable for you and your loved ones to get a flu shot. To get a free flu shot at the 9Health Fair this fall, check out our Find a Fair page to find a location near you.
9Health is a 501c-3 community non-profit empowering people to put health in their own hands by providing tools such as preventive health screenings, evidence-based, objective health education and eTools and resources for every day in your health journey. To support their work, go to www.9healthfair.org/sponsors/support/.