Yes, it is true that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), made a surprise announcement last week regarding flu vaccines. What you probably saw was a headline stating something along the lines of: “Flu Vaccine Not Effective for Most of This Year’s Cases.”

There was obviously more to that story. However, it concerns me that many people might believe that headline means you don’t need a flu shot this year because it’s not going to work. Nothing could be further from the truth.

You do need a flu shot this year. And it’s not too late to get one. So here’s the back story on why you saw that headline – and it’s pretty simple.

  1. It is too late to make new flu vaccines for some of the strains of flu virus hitting the U.S.
  2. The existing flu vaccine still protects against about half of the strains circulating in America.

The CDC announcement did indicate this information. In fact, the CDC cautioned that people should still get flu shots because they do protect against some strains and they decrease the severity of the illness.

The flu vaccine takes two weeks to become effective. That means if you get your flu shot this week, you’ll be protected by Christmas Day. Then all through January and February, when we see the most cases, you’ll have the upper hand.

Already we are seeing patients come into Impact Urgent Care with the flu. So I can’t stress enough the importance of getting vaccinated. Don’t worry so much about those strains you can’t be protected against. Think about the ones you can be protected against.

In the unfortunate event that you do believe you are coming down with the flu, don’t wait. Take action early and come into the clinic within the first day or two, so we can help you with anti-viral and supportive medications and other steps to help lessen the severity of your symptoms.

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