October 2019 — When Should I Get the Flu Vaccine?

>>Hi, my name is Paul Offit. I’m speaking to you today from the Vaccine
Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and the subject is influenza. So the answer to the question: “What vaccine-preventable disease kills more people than all other vaccine-preventable
diseases combined?” is influenza. Every year influenza infects several million
people in the United States, causing about 200,000 to be hospitalized and anywhere
from 20 to 30,000 people to die. The problem with influenza is that natural
infection or immunization the previous year doesn’t protect you against disease the
following year, so you need to get a yearly vaccine. That’s just the nature of the virus; the
surface proteins of that virus mutate from one year to the next so much so that you need
to get a yearly vaccine, which is burdensome for the patient, it’s certainly burdensome
for the healthcare system. So the question is: “When is it
best to get it?” Now, usually, the Food and Drug Administration
determines in March exactly which strains are going to be included in that vaccine. It’s a six-month production cycle, so the
vaccine is ready by September. So should you get it in September or should
you wait a few months? And the CDC recommends that the vaccine should
be taken as soon as it becomes available, in September or October before the
virus enters the United States. Now, some people may not get it in September
and October and wonder whether or not it’s still worth getting it, and the answer to
that question is, yes. You should get it in September or October
or November, December, January, whenever you can, but the best time is to obviously get
it before the virus comes into the United States. Thank you for your attention.

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