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Influenza Updates for the Fall/Winter

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, reducing the spread of respiratory illnesses, like flu, this fall and winter is more important than ever. It is recommended that you get a flu vaccination in September or October, but getting vaccinated any time during the flu season can help protect you.

Influenza (also called the flu) is a contagious, respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness. Serious outcomes of flu infection can result in hospitalization or death. Some people, such as seniors, young children and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk of serious flu complications. There are two main types of influenza (flu) virus: Types A and B. The influenza A and B viruses that routinely spread in people (human influenza viruses) are responsible for seasonal flu epidemics each year. The best way to prevent flu is by getting vaccinated each year.

Who should get vaccinated this season?Everyone six months and older should get a flu vaccine every season with rare exceptions. Vaccination is particularly important for people who are at high risk of serious complications from the flu, such people over age 64 and those with chronic health conditions like asthma, heart disease, diabetes, to name a few.

Flu vaccination can help reduce illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work or school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations and deaths.

Who should not get vaccinated?

  • Children younger than six months of age
  • People with severe, life-threatening allergies to the flu vaccine or any ingredient in the vaccine. This might include gelatin, antibiotics or other ingredients.

When should I get vaccinated?

You should get a flu vaccine before flu viruses begin spreading in your community, since it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against flu. Make plans to get vaccinated early in fall, before flu season begins. The CDC recommends you get a flu vaccine by the end of October. Children who need two doses of vaccine to be protected should start the vaccination process sooner since the two doses must be given at least four weeks apart.