Don’t Wait For Newest Flu Vaccines To Get Vaccinated, Say Doctors
The American Academy of Pediatrics is advising parents to get their children vaccinated as soon as possible this year. While physicians are always stressing the importance of flu vaccination, some are particular concerned this year that parents will hold out for new types of vaccines, even though these haven’t been shown to be more effective than those currently available.
Influenza still kills thousands every year in the US, hospitalizing even more. The most vulnerable groups are children, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems (pregnant women are highly recommended to be vaccinated). But anyone can catch the virus and spread it further.
Despite this, less than half of the US population gets vaccinated. Many don’t see the flu as a major problem, and myths about vaccines themselves causing illness or even autism in children persist. Some refuse vaccines for religious reasons: a recent outbreak of measles in Texas was traced to a megachurch where the pastor criticizes immunizations, citing concerns about autism.
Flu vaccines must be updated every year, predicting what strains will circulate that season. The vaccines usually protect against three strains of influenza, but some available in small quantities this year will cover four strains.
The AAP is quick to point out that available data does not prove that the four-strain vaccine is any superior, and the most important thing is to get vaccinated as soon as possible, before the viruses start circulating.
[via NBC News]