Summer may be just wrapping up, but it’s not too early to think about flu season. Next month will be the best time to get vaccinated but if you hate needles, it will be a big change for this year’s round of vaccines.
For this year, at least, the nasal spray flu vaccine is out because health experts have found it ineffective.
Even with the spray out, this latest health news doesn’t mean you should hold off on the shot.
The flu mist has been a popular and less painful option for kids, but it’s not in the mix this year. The CDC found that the nasal spray form of the flu vaccination is only 3% effective while the shot is over 60% effective.
“They decided to pull it for this year and they’ll be testing it to see what went wrong so that they can come out with a strong version because any parent would prefer their kid sniff salt water over getting a shot,” says Dr. Michael Piplani, Chief Medical Officer at Siouxland Community Health Center.
But, the late season change could have some unintended consequences.
“Many people had put in their orders a year before and so many of the people that treat children have ordered lots of the mist are not going to get it. So now they order the more traditional vaccine and I think we may run into some shortages,” says Dr. Michael Piplani, Chief Medical Officer at Siouxland Community Health Center.
Those most strongly suggested to get vaccinated are babies, young children, kids with asthma, adults with diabetes, and seniors, but doctors say getting yourself vaccinated helps everyone around you.
“There’s something called ‘herd-immunity’, so with 68% of people protected then hopefully, if the flu is hitting that 68% then they won’t be passing it on to the 30% where it just doesn’t hold. So the more people that get the vaccine, the better off we all are,” says Dr. Piplani.
This year’s common flu vaccine will cover three strains of influenza and another version will cover a fourth.
Doctors say the best way to keep the flu away, besides the vaccine, is to properly wash your hands with warm soap and water.