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Why You Should Get Your Annual Flu Vaccine. By Our Student Pharmacist, Reham Okab.

As the fall season begins and the weather gets cooler and cooler, I thought it would be a perfect time to discuss the importance of receiving the annual flu shot.

The annual flu shot simply protects you from getting sick. And as the holiday season approaches, who has time to get sick?

According to the Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC), “During 2019-2020, the last flu season prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, flu vaccination prevented an estimated 7.5 million influenza illnesses, 3.7 million influenza-associated medical visits, 105,000 influenza-associated hospitalizations, and 6,300 influenza-associated deaths.”

The flu shot covers four different strains (a quadrivalent vaccine) of the influenza virus. It covers two strains of the Type A Influenza and two strains of the Type B Influenza.

Each year, the strains chosen for the flu vaccines are based on studies as to how fast they (the strains) spread and which strains are predicted to cause the most illness during the upcoming flu season.

You might ask yourself, how do we know these flu shots are effective if what is used is based on what is predicted to happen?

The CDC conducts studies to see how effective the flu shot was each year. In the 2021-2022 flu season the vaccine helped reduce the risk of illness by about one third.

According to the CDC, “Flu vaccination reduces the risk of flu illness by between 40% and 60% among the overall population during seasons when most circulating flu viruses are well-matched to those used to make flu vaccines.”

4CE9EE4C-5462-410D-B25D-41FF4E3EAD89You will not get the flu from the vaccine, but you may experience side effects such as muscle pain, specifically at the site of injection, a headache, body aches, or a fever. This isn’t to scare you away from the shot; in fact, this is your body’s way of telling you it’s responding to the vaccine! These side effects are usually mild and last for a few days after the shot has been given.

During each flu season, there are several different flu shots available; this year all vaccines available are quadrivalent.

For anyone older than 65 years old, the CDC recommends a specific vaccine that will allow for a better immune response to occur. A couple of these vaccines include the FLUAD and FLUZONE High Dose.

For anyone younger than the age of 65 years old, there is no specific vaccine recommended by the CDC.

Plain City Druggist is now offering two different flu shots: FLUAD and Afluria. FLUAD is for anyone 65 years or older. This vaccine has an adjuvant- or an ingredient that allows for a better immune response to occur from the vaccine. The Afluria is for anyone below 65 years old.

Plain City Druggist is now accepting walk-ins for anyone 7 years or older to receive their flu shot. If you have any questions please give us a call (614-873-0880) or stop by. We’ll be happy to assist you!

Merced-Morales A, Daly P, Abd Elal AI, et al. Influenza Activity and Composition of the 2022–23 Influenza Vaccine — United States, 2021–22 Season. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2022;71:913–919. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm7129a1

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