Flu Shot FAQs – Updates for 2019

It’s Flu Season

It’s that time of year – flu season. In a previous article, we covered common flu symptoms, duration and treatment options

Flu seasons also means it’s time for annual flu shot vaccinations. Actually, 145 million other people are going to be getting one, studies suggest. Whenever this time comes around, there are some FAQs that we always get. Let’s break ’em down:

Is the Flu Shot Effective?

What does the flu shot even do? The flu shot introduces proteins to your body that look like proteins on the outer shell of the flu virus.  In response, your body makes antibodies that are now on the lookout for these proteins. Think Jason Bourne on the lookout for the Eastern European spy. When the virus shows up, your Jason Bourne antibodies hunt it down and kill it. So you don’t get the flu! And now you’re friends with Matt Damon!

Is the Flu Shot Necessary Every year?

Why do I have to get this stupid shot every year? Some viruses you get once, and then have immunity forever.  Think about chickenpox (caused by a virus called Varicella). Once you’ve had it, you have lifelong immunity. But with flu, this isn’t the case. The influenza virus has proteins on its outer covering that change all the time. (Get ready. About to drop some science on you…)  We refer to these proteins as “H” and “N”. Remember H1N1? That was a particular strain of flu. When we refer to vaccines as “quadrivalent”, we mean that the vaccine covers four strains of flu.  See, the virus is always changing, or mutating. So getting it one year doesn’t protect you for the future. Yes, you have to keep getting the shot.

Effectiveness of the Flu Vaccine

Does the vaccine even work?  I got it last year, and I still got the flu!  Yes, it happens.  The strains and components that make up the vaccine are a guess.  An educated guess, but a guess nonetheless. They might protect you and they might not. Last year’s shot was 24% effective. Not awesome. But the thing is, even some protection is better than no protection. Every year, between 5% and 20% of Americans get the flu (that’s millions of people folks). And tens of thousands actually die from it. Better safe than sorry, especially when “sorry” can mean “dead.”

Insurance Covers Flu Shots: Yes? – No?

Will my insurance cover it? By law, health insurance has to cover the flu shot. Thanks, government!

Building Up Immunity to the Flu

Is it too early to get the shot?  I want to make sure I am immune when “flu season” hits, and it hasn’t worn off.  We recommend that you get the shot in September and no later than the end of October.  Flu season typically ramps up later in the year, and is worst in January and February. However, it occasionally starts as early as November, so vaccination ahead of that is recommended.

How Many Flu Shots Does One Need?

Is one dose enough? For most people, yes. In children who are being vaccinated for the first time, CDC recommends two shots spaced four weeks apart. In folks older than 65, the high-dose version of the vaccine is recommended.

Egg Culture vs. Cell Culture Vaccines

What is the difference in egg-culture and cell-culture vaccines? For years, we made the vaccines in eggs (sorry if we ruined brunch for you). It’s thought that vaccines made in a non-egg environment are actually more effective. But we don’t have hard data to support this. Just theory at this point. For what it’s worth, Remedy has the cell-culture vaccine. Hey, if it is better, we want to make sure we’re giving it!

Contact Us to Learn More!

Let us know what other questions you have!  Remedy is here to help. We want to make sure you are informed and vaccinated.  Book a visit today to get your family’s shots without leaving the comfort of home.

Book an appointment today!