2020-2021 Flu Shots: A Doctor Explains Why October Is the Time to Get This Year's Flu Vaccine by St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
In order to build up immunity before the predicted peak of influenza activity this year in the United States, Dr. Richard Webby, a member of the Infectious Diseases Department at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the World Health Organization’s Influenza Vaccine Composition Advisory Team, is encouraging all Americans to make October the month they get this year’s newly reformulated flu vaccine to receive full protection.
“Taking roughly two weeks to build up immunity in your body, it is important to get the flu vaccine by the end of October to have full protection before influenza season arrives,” said Dr. Richard Webby. “It is the most effective tool we have to stave off the influenza virus. We can all help save lives by getting the flu shot now in order for it to provide maximum immunity.”
The World Health Organization Influenza Vaccine Composition Advisory Team members released recommendations earlier this year on the composition of the flu vaccine for the Northern Hemisphere. The recommendations are used to guide national vaccine regulatory agencies and pharmaceutical companies to develop, produce and license influenza vaccines.
“To avoid what could be a volatile dual influenza and COVID-19 season this fall and winter in the United States, now is the time to get the flu shot,” Dr. Webby said. “The absolute best way for the public to prepare against this unique and unpredictable scenario is to protect themselves now and not to wait for influenza activity to start before getting the flu shot.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people receive a flu shot by the end of October. Given it takes approximately two weeks for the influenza vaccine to build up enough antibodies to offer the shots full protections against the influenza virus, people shouldn’t wait until the flu starts spreading in their community.
“The more people who get the flu shot will result in less severe influenza in our communities, resulting in less of an impact on our medical facilities and greater protection for the entire population,” Webby said. “Let’s not wait for a spike in flu cases to take action. The bottom line is the flu shot is still the most valuable and life-saving public health tool in preventing and spreading the flu while protecting our most vulnerable family, friends and neighbors.”
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