Here’s a quick question-and-answer session from the Mayo Clinic which covers some of the most common questions:
• When is the f lu vaccine available? Usually, between September and mid-November, which is typically before the late-fall to early-winter start of flu season. It takes up to two weeks to build immunity after a flu shot.
• Why do I need to get vaccinated every year? Flu viruses mutate so quickly that they can render one season’s vaccine ineffective by the next season.
• Will I need two different shots again this year? No. The 2010 regular flu shot will contain protection against the pandemic H1N1 (swine flu) virus, in addition to two other influenza viruses that are expected to be in circulation this fall and winter.
• Who should get the flu vaccine? Starting with the 2010-11 influenza season, the Centers For Disease Control (CDC) now recommends annual influenza vaccinations for everyone age 6 months or older.
• Who shouldn’t get the flu shot? Don’t get the flu shot if you have had a bad reaction to the vaccine in the past, are allergic to chicken eggs or have a fever that day.
• Can the vaccine give me the flu? No, but you might develop flu-like symptoms despite getting a flu shot for a variety of reasons, including reaction to the vaccine or the “two-week window” It takes about two weeks for the flu shot to take full effect. If you’ve already been previously exposed to the virus you might catch the flu.
• What kind of protection does the flu vaccine offer? Flu vaccines aren’t 100 percent effective. According to the CDC, when the match between flu vaccine and circulating strains of flu virus is close, a flu shot is between 70 and 90 percent effective in warding off influenza in healthy people under age 65.—Mayoclinic.com