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CDC wants you to get the flu shot early this year

Jenny Decker RN's picture

Most will remember that last year, we had to have two shots to cover the flu, both seasonal flu and swine flu. This year however, a 3-in-1 vaccine will be available, and sooner than previous years. The CDC recommends getting an early flu shot this year for everyone from 6 months and older, including pregnant women. There are no high-risk groups that will be targeted this year.

The 3-in-1 vaccine includes two against type A flus and one against type B. The seasonal flu and the H3N2 are the type A’s, with H1N1 the type B. H3N2 has been circulating in the southern hemisphere during their recent flu season and it has been found in 2 unrelated outbreaks in Iowa. These outbreaks were in a college sports team and in a day care center. H3N2 can be very severe in elderly people.

Flu shot important for everyone

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The CDC warns that this year’s flu shot is very important for everyone because immunity wanes from the previous year and even with those who have had swine flu, they may be at risk for getting it again. To meet the anticipated demand, over 165 million doses are being produced and some have even shipped to their destinations.

To get the word out and encourage all to get their flu shot, the CDC will be starting a campaign in September called “Flu End with U”. There are some problems with getting some parts of the population to get a flu shot, simply because of misunderstanding exactly what the flu shot is. This campaign aims to eliminate or lessen people’s fears about the flu shot.

The first misunderstanding or myth, as the CDC calls it, is that some believe that they can get the flu from the shot. Many will say “I got the vaccine, but it gave me the flu”. It is medically impossible for the vaccine to give someone the flu as it is a dead virus. The intranasal flu sniff is a weakened virus that cannot grow in the lungs, however it can cause mild flu-like symptoms. The next myth is that there are worries about how the H1N1 vaccine was developed, but this particular vaccine has undergone the most intense safety testing ever done. Other myths include people being skeptical of the new recommendations for the flu shot this year.

The CDC call to action include health care workers encouraging friends and others to get the flu shot.