WHAT IT IS
A vaccine is a medical prevention that is usually injected to protect against a particular disease or virus. [Merriam-Webster]
The flu vaccine is developed yearly to help the body protect itself from strains of the influenza virus. The vaccine helps the body develop antibodies about two weeks after injected. [Centers For Disease Control And Prevention]
Influenza is an infection impacting the body’s respiratory system. It can create complications in children, older adults and anyone with suppressed immune systems. [Mayo Clinic]
Influenza was discovered in the 1930s. The first vaccine against the flu was created in the 1940s. [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]
The flu shot is available annually and provides protection against the three of the most prominent strains of the virus that year. [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]
The World Health Organization decides which strains of influenza to include in the vaccine. [World Health Organization]
- The vaccines are typically issued using a shot, but nasal sprays as also available. [The New York Times]
On average, the flu vaccine is about 50-60% effective. [Mayo Clinc]
WHY IT MATTERS
CIVICS: Every state has laws that require certain vaccinations before children can attend school. The flu vaccine is not legally required. [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] Read about each state here.
SOCIAL: Each year, the flu impacts millions of children and adults across the U.S., with some cases resulting in death
The flu vaccine’s effectiveness varies; however, health officials agree that the vaccine is proven to be beneficial in protecting the body against influenza. [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]
Getting the flu vaccine before flu season could prevent an infection. Scientific studies indicate getting vaccinated has proven to be more beneficial than not doing so. [The Washington Post]
Make it stop
For anyone who does get sick, receiving the flu vaccine could lessen the severity of some symptoms and could provide protection from later complications. [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]
Side effects from the flu vaccine are minor and could include redness, swelling, and tenderness. [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]
You won't get the flu
Health officials are clear that getting the flu shot does not cause the flu or other illnesses. [Centers for Disease Control and Prevetnion]
When and who
Most cases of the flu are often reported between December and February. [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]
Everyone is encouraged to get the flu shot. Pregnant women and anybody with heart conditions are urged to get the flu vaccine. They are considered vulnerable to the flu. [NPR]
WHERE WE ARE NOW
Health officials evaluate flu activity in the Southern Hemisphere to predict how the Northern’s flu season will be. [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]
According to the CDC, the 2019-2020 flu season will be especially severe. [The New York Times]
Jan. 2020: At least 6.4 million people have already caught the flu, 55,000 have been hospitalized and 2,9000 have died (27 of which were children). [TIME]
2018-2019 flu season lasted more than 21 weeks. It was the longest flu season in a decade. [TIME]
THINGS TO THINK ABOUT
The CDC evaluated flu vaccine effectiveness over time. Read the study here.
Vaccines do not cause Autism. Read more around the science here.
Here’s a look at some common misconceptions surrounding the annual flu vaccine.