Should You Get A Flu Shot Every Year?

The flu season will continue in the coming months in the U.S. The government expects to see more people contracting the virus and efforts to promote flu shots have been growing.

Federal health officials and doctors have been encouraging people across all states to consider getting vaccinated. However, lack of awareness remains a problem in the country. 

If not because of vaccine scare, people fail to get a flu vaccine because they believe a single shot would be enough to protect them against the virus for a long period of time. But experts said people should get vaccinated every year since strains of influenza change every flu season. 

The effects of flu vaccine decline over time. Some studies suggested that people may start losing immunity six months after receiving the shot. 

Infectious disease experts meet every February to identify what strains might trigger the next flu season. Scientists update flu vaccines every year based on target viruses.  

There are multiple flu strains. Each update to the vaccine aims to block three to four strains.

In the 2019-2020 flu season, the B/Victoria strain has been causing most of the illnesses in the U.S., according to William Schaffner, a professor at Vanderbilt University and medical director of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. Available vaccines work by preventing infections and reducing the severity of the flu. 

When To Get Flu Vaccines

People should get vaccinated against the flu in the fall, especially before the end of October, as per the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Some health experts said they will never tell people that it is “too late” to get a flu shot. 

But to Schaffner, not receiving a flu vaccine in mid-January can be considered late because many people and communities might have already been spreading the virus. 

"It is late," he told NBC News. "If you haven't been vaccinated yet, get it this afternoon."

The vaccine will not work immediately to prevent flu from infecting an individual. It commonly takes two weeks for the body to develop immunity after getting a flu shot.

Flut shot Researchers found that vaccination could reduce the risk of flu by 40 percent to 60 percent even during seasons when the virus is active. Pixabay