The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has published recommendations for influenza vaccination in the 2018–2019, according to which all children older than 6 months should be vaccinated before the end of October.
This decision was made after a particularly deadly flu season last year, when almost 180 people died from the virus, writes The Daily Mail. Dr. Jane Foster, a pediatrician at Maryland Hospital, explains why it is important to get your vaccine no later than Halloween, why nasal spray is a good alternative, and how the myth began that you might get the flu because of vaccination.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the 2017-2018 season was one of the most severe in history. In the last week of January, every out of 14 visits to doctors and clinics across the country was diagnosed with the flu. It made the latest season the most deadly since the 2009 swine flu epidemic. In the United States, 179 children died, thousands were taken into hospitals. According to the CDC, 80% of dead children were not vaccinated.
In a “good” year, vaccination effectiveness can range from 50 to 70%. However, when a strain known as the H3N2 virus is actively distributed, its effectiveness drops to 30%.
What vaccinations can you get?
The CDC recommends getting the vaccine either in a form of an injection or nasal spray. If you decide to receive an injection, there are 2 options. The first is a trivalent vaccine that protects against 2 strains of influenza A, H1N1 and H3N2 and one strain of influenza B virus. The second option – a tetravalent vaccine against influenza, protects against the same strains as the trivalent plus an additional influenza B virus.
“Your body needs 2 weeks to build up antibodies, so I use Halloween as a time marker when my patients need to do it,” says Dr. Jane Foster. “If you vaccinate before this time, you will be protected during the most severe period of time.”
Can I get sick from the vaccine?
Dr.Foster says this is a “complete, 100%-myth. However, the doctor noticed that the virus can be caught, even if you were vaccinated. Vaccination does not mean that you will not catch the flu this year – it reduces your chances, but if you catch the flu, it will help your body fight better.
Who is contraindicated for vaccination?
The only group of people, who cannot be vaccinated against the flu, is children under 6 months old. According to the doctor, they are too small, so they rely on the “cocoon effect” – the maternal immune defense. Therefore, when parents vaccinate themselves, they also protect their children.
Contrary to popular belief, according to Dr.Foster, a headache or a small cold is not a contraindication to vaccination. Only if you are seriously ill, it is better to postpone the vaccine.
Is vaccine safe for pregnant women?
The CDC says that pregnant women can get the vaccine at any time. According to My Canadian Pharmacy, there are several reasons why the expectant mother should vaccinate. Pregnant women suffering from the flu can get much more complications that it increases the likelihood of hospitalization. According to the doctor, the immunity as a result of vaccination is transferred to the child and can protect him or her during the first half of the year, while the baby itself cannot be vaccinated.