Prevention is easier than treatment.

What You Need to Know About the Flu VaccineIt’s that time of year again. Flu season begins in the fall and often ends in the spring. Getting a flu vaccine every year is the single best thing you can do to protect yourself and your family. We make it easy to get your flu vaccine.

Who Should Get the Flu Vaccine?
Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every season.  In the State of Florida, pharmacists are allowed to administer the flu vaccine patients 18 years of age and older.

Why Should People Get Vaccinated Against the Flu?
Influenza is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. “Flu season” in the United States can begin as early as October and last as late as May. Every flu season is different, and influenza infection can affect people differently. Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others. During recent flu seasons, between 80% and 90% of flu related deaths have occurred in people 65 years and older.

During flu season, viruses are circulating at higher levels in the U.S. population. An annual seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to reduce the chances that you will get seasonal flu and spread it to others.

Why Do I Need a Flu Vaccine Every Year?
A flu vaccine is needed every season for two reasons. First, the body’s immune response from vaccination declines over time, so an annual vaccine is needed for optimal protection. Second, because flu viruses are constantly changing, the formulation of the flu vaccine is reviewed each year and sometimes updated to keep up with changing flu viruses.

How Do Flu Vaccines Work?
Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine.  Because it can take up to two weeks for the vaccine to take full effect, patients should not wait until November or December to get vaccinated.

We start to vaccinate in September and encourage our patients to receive a flu vaccine by the end of October.

The seasonal flu vaccine protects against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. Traditional flu vaccines (called “trivalent” vaccines) are made to protect against three flu viruses; an influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus, and an influenza B virus.

For patients aged 65 and older, a high dose flu vaccine is available and fully covered by Medicare.  This has been on the market for several years now.

Vaccination has been one of the most successful public health interventions in the world. It is estimated that vaccines save 6 million to 9 million lives each year and prevent 95% of childhood diseases.

In the US, Immunizations have had a positive impact on the health of patients and have led to a significant decrease in vaccine preventable diseases in adults and children.

Take, for example, the success of vaccines on reducing diphtheria, and eliminating polio and small pox as well as reducing the spread of influenza.

Diphtheria was a major cause of death and illness among children prior to the vaccine being available. There were 2 recorded cases of diphtheria between 2004 and 2015 because of vaccinations, compared to 206,000 recorded cases in 1921, prior to when the vaccine being available. Of which, 15,520 cases unfortunately resulted in death.

The elimination of polio and smallpox in the United Sates means that there is no year-round transmission.

According to the CDC vaccine-preventable diseases have declined significantly from the pre vaccine era. To add to the illnesses listed above, cases of Hepatitis A, measles, mumps, pertussis, rubella, tetanus, and varicella have decreased more than 90%.

Some patients are hesitant about vaccine safety and necessity. There are many reasons for this: communications and media, misinformation, risk perceptions, lack of trust, and social pressures, and moral and religious convictions.

But the years of research and studies show that vaccines work. Because the associated bacteria and viruses still exist, vaccine rates must remain high enough to prevent these diseases from proliferating. Vaccination of a sufficiently high number of the population grants broad community protection. This is called herd immunity. In general herd immunity help develop an immunity rates of 80% to 95%. Herd immunity is essential to protecting the broader health of individuals, especially the ones that choose not to be vaccinated.

*Source: Pharmacy Times, Kathleen Kenny PharmD, RPh Learn how to counter vaccine hesitancy pg. 14 &15

If you have any questions about the flu vaccine, or if you would like get vaccinated, stop by the pharmacy – no appointment necessary for vaccines, or contact Center Pharmacy today at (239) 772-8866.

Center Pharmacy
1501 Viscaya Pkwy Suite 2
Cape Coral, FL 33990