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Why Get the Flu Vaccine?

After 22 years as an RN, I now write about medical issues and new medical advances. Diet, exercise, treatment, and lifestyle are important.

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Sick Woman

Who Needs the Flu Vaccine?

It is a good idea for most people to get the flu vaccine, and the CDC recommends everyone over the age of five months to get a flu shot. It is particularly important for adults over 65 years, pregnant women, young children between six months and eight years. Children in that age range may require two shots. A 2017 study concluded a child’s risk of death from the flu was significantly reduced. In 2018, 80,000 people died and 959,000 were hospitalized due to influenza.

Other people with chronic medical conditions that are more prone to have influenza complications include:

  • Asthma
  • Cancer or cancer treatment
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney or liver disease
  • Obesity

On a personal note I chose not to get the vaccine one year, then, I got the flu. Next, I went into one of my worst lupus flare-ups. I would encourage anyone with an autoimmune disease to get a flu shot, and I got mine already.

You are eligible for the flu vaccine in the UK if you are 65 or older. The vaccine is recommended for Australians between June and September.

It takes the vaccine 2-4 weeks for protective antibodies to form.

Mayo Clinic Minute: The Facts About 3 Flu Vaccine Myths

Flu Vaccine for 2019-2020

Typically, the flu vaccine protects against 3-4 strains of flu viruses because there are different strains of the flu that change from year to year. The composition of the vaccine is evaluated and changed each year. According to the CDC, for the 2019-2020, the vaccine is a trivalent, which has three-components that contain:

  • “A/Brisbane/02/2018 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus (updated)
  • A/Kansas/14/2017 (H3N2)-like virus (updated)
  • B/Colorado/06/2017-like (Victoria lineage) virus”

There is a “cell based” higher-level vaccine for adults over 65 years of age or older. The World Health Organization (WHO) chose the components for the 2019-2020 vaccine on February 21st.

Flu Symptoms


Symptoms of Influenza

The symptoms of influenza include:

  • Fever and chillsNasal congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Cough
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Muscle pains
  • Hoarseness
  • Earache
  • Irritated, watery eyes
  • Reddened eyes, skin (especially face)
  • Petechial rash
  • Irritated, watery eyes
  • Children may have gastrointestinal symptoms (vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain)
Influenza Virus

Influenza Virus

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Benefits of the Flu Vaccine

The flu vaccine in the U.S. reduces the mortality rate substantially and also, the lost work hours. Even a 1% increase in the vaccination rate will reduce deaths by 800 annually and in 14.5 million fewer lost work hours due to illness.

New Executive Order

An executive order was signed by President Donald Trump on the 19th of September that gives directions to the Health and Human Services and the Department of Defense. They are tasked with proposing a budget and plan within 120 days that will improve the United States’ ability to improve the country’s ability to prepare for any future pandemic flu. They are to develop a better vaccine that will protect people against the seasonal flu outbreaks. They will hopefully develop a universal flu vaccine that will replace the seasonal variety flu vaccine.

They are also charged with planning a strategy for switching to faster methods of developing a seasonal flu vaccine. Manufacturers currently use a process of making the flu vaccine using chicken eggs that takes six months.

Over numerous years the flu vaccine has been about 45% effectively. By using the chicken eggs there is a months-long lag between predictions of the researchers as to which strains are the most likely to in any given year.

Answers to Common Questions About the Flu Vaccine

Final Thoughts

Getting the flu vaccine can protect your health and possibly the health of your loved ones. The CDC and most physicians recommend getting the flu vaccine as early in the season as possible, certainly by the end of October and due to the fact that it takes two weeks for the vaccine to be effective. The flu vaccine has the benefit of no lost work days and possibly a hospitalization.

Have you had your flu vaccine?

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2019 Pamela Oglesby


Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 02, 2020:

Hi Rajan,

I think the reason we are offered a flu shot every autumn is that the viruses do mutate. I don't know if they will find one for Covid-19 for that reason. I don't remember flu shots as a child either, so maybe they have been offered over the past couple of decades.

I get the shot because I have lupus. I had the flu one year that put me in a bad lupus flare-up that took quite a while to settle down.

Thank you for your comments.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on July 01, 2020: