Flu season is coming and health professionals recommend that you get a flu vaccination. This vaccination can keep you from becoming ill with flu. The flu vaccination can reduce the risk of flu-associated hospitalization, including among children and older adults. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) refers to a study published in 2016 that showed that people 50 years and older who got a flu vaccine reduced their risk of getting hospitalized from flu by 57 percent.
The flu vaccination is an important preventative took for people with chronic health conditions. The CDC has found that the flu vaccination has reduced hospitalizations among people with diabetes by 79 percent and chronic lung disease by percent. The vaccination helps protect women during and after pregnancy and protects the developing baby during pregnancy and for several months after birth. It reduces the risk of flu-associated acute respiratory infection by about one half. The CDC reports that babies born of women who got a flu vaccine during their pregnancy were about one-third less likely to get sick with flu that babies of women who did not get the vaccination.
Also Flu vaccination also may make your illness milder if you do get sick. A vaccination protects yourself people around you, including those who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness, like babies and young children, older people, and people with certain chronic health conditions.
The CDC conducts studies on the effectiveness of the flu vaccine. It shows that the vaccine reduces the risk of flu illness by 50 to 60 percent among the overall population during seasons when most circulating flu viruses are like the vaccine viruses.
The effectiveness of the flu vaccine can range from season to season. The vaccine’s effectiveness also can vary depending on who is being vaccinated. At least two factors play an important role in determining the likelihood that flu vaccine will protect a person from flu illness. These include the characteristics of the person being vaccinated like age and health and the similarity or match between the flu viruses the flu vaccine is designed to protect against and the flu viruses spreading in the community. During years when the flu vaccine is not well matched to circulating viruses, it’s possible that no benefit from flu vaccination may be observed. During years when there is a good match between the flu vaccine and circulating viruses, it’s possible to measure substantial benefits from vaccination in terms of preventing flu illness, according to the CDC.
Each season researchers try to determine how well flu vaccines work to regularly assess and confirm the value of flu vaccination as a public health intervention. While determining how well a flu vaccine works is challenging, in general, recent studies have supported the conclusion that flu vaccination benefits public health, especially when the flu vaccine is well matched to circulating flu viruses.
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.
The seasonal flu vaccine protects against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. Traditional flu vaccines known as “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. There are also flu vaccines made to protect against four flu viruses called “quadrivalent” vaccines. These vaccines protect against the same viruses as the trivalent vaccine and an additional B virus.
The CDC recommends use of injectable influenza vaccines including inactivated influenza vaccines and recombinant influenza vaccines during 2016-2017. The nasal spray flu vaccine live attenuated influenza vaccine or LAIV should not be used during 2016-2017.
Both trivalent, three-component and quadrivalent, four-component flu vaccines will be available.