Have you had your flu shot yet?
An influenza vaccine will take effect about two weeks after you receive it, so it’s best to get one in the early fall before the height of flu season, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. With rare exceptions, the CDC recommends a flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older.
This year, flu season will include the added difficulty of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the U.S., influenza can put 750,000 people in the hospital and cause 50,000 deaths if flu season is severe, said Seqirus Chief Medical Officer Dr. Gregg Sylvester. Seqirus, one of the world’s leading producers of flu vaccine, is a business of CSL and has production facilities around the world.
“The flu shot is important every year. But it’s doubly important this year,” Sylvester said.
Getting a flu vaccine will help reduce the burden on the healthcare system, something that could be especially important if hospital space is needed for COVID-19 patients, he said. Though fall is the best time, the flu vaccine remains an effective tool against influenza later in the season as well. Flu is usually most active between December and February, but can stretch into May, according to the CDC.
A Seqirus expert and other public health officials were included in a recent New York Times story about the collision of the pandemic and flu season. Read: Fearing a ‘Twindemic,’ Public Health Experts Push Urgently for Flu Shots.
The vaccine against influenza is especially important to high risk populations, such as young children, the elderly and people with chronic conditions, such as primary immune deficiencies. People who have PI are especially vulnerable to infections and they rely on others getting vaccinated to limit their chance of catching the flu.
The World Health Organization says getting an influenza vaccine is the best protection against the flu. Learn more in this WHO Q&A.