SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Early September may seem like an odd time to get the flu vaccine, but 22News found out why you need to get it sooner rather than later. The newest flu vaccine is available, and doctors say you need to get it now.
Dr. Sarah Haessler from Baystate Medical Center’s Infectious Disease Division told 22News there are already documented cases of the flu in Western Massachusetts.
Dr. Ira Helfand of Family Care Medical Center told 22News, “The vaccine that’s available now is the vaccine for this season. It’s already available, and it’s fine to go ahead and get this now. It is the best vaccine that we can predict will be useful to protect you during this coming winter.”
This year’s vaccine protects you from the 3 most common flu strains, as well as other strains experts believe will be going around often this winter. Each year’s vaccination targets different flu strains, but the immunity the vaccine gives goes away over time.
Flu shots offer up to 6 months of protection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends vaccinating everyone 6 months and older, unless the doctor recommends against it because of pre-existing conditions.
Children between 6 months and 8 years-old may need 2 doses – given 4 weeks apart – for full protection. Doctors recommend getting the flu shot early, since it takes 2 weeks for the vaccination to work. Young children, the elderly, pregnant women, and people with heart disease are at highest risk for flu complications. Now that school’s started, Doctors say it’s important to vaccinate kids now.
There are different ways to get the flu vaccine; there’s the shot… and nasal delivery. Check with your doctor to see what’s best for you.