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Influenza vaccination Q&A

Published in For the Health of It Author: Jill Amsberry,DO Author: Jill Amsberry, D.O.

Editor’s note: CentraCare Clinic Health Plaza Pediatrics Jill Amsberry, DO, sat down to talk on Facebook Live to discuss influenza vaccination questions. Here is a sample of the information followed by the full video from the Facebook Live event.

Q: Who should receive the influenza vaccine?

Dr. Amsberry: We recommend vaccination for anyone ages six months and older. It's particularly important in certain populations who are more at risk such as children less than 5, people older than 65 or people with underlying autoimmune diseases such as asthma and other chronic lung issues.

Q: When should the vaccine be received?

Dr. Amsberry: We typically want people to have received the vaccination by the end of October. The vaccine takes about two weeks to develop immunity and so we know that the most common time for flu season is end of October through spring — with the peak being January-February.

Q: What about the flu mist? Is that a good alternative to the shot?

Dr. Amsberry: The flu mist has been around for a long time. We found that flu mist from 2010 to 2017 wasn’t as good at protecting against one specific strain: H1N1. It still was really as effective as the shot at protecting against Influenza B and the other strain H3N2 but not H1N1. Last year the flu mist was not recommended at all.

This year, the manufacturers have added some components and changed the H1N1 portion. So the belief is that the flu mist will be as effective as the shot itself. We just don’t have a lot of info on that, so the American Academy of Pediatrics is saying to use the flu mist as a last resort. At CentraCare, we won’t have the flu mist available.