Could we expect a ‘flu-pocalypse’ this season? ABC News reports the flu vaccine used this year in Australia has only been 10% effective. The shot used in the U.S. has the same composition, creating some concern. But, local experts say just because it wasn’t as effective overseas doesn’t mean it wont be beneficial here.
“[It depends] where in the world you’re living, what specific strain is circulating more that season than a different season,” said Boone County Public Health Administrator Amanda Mehl.
The vaccine is made to prevent against what experts believe will be the top strains circulating that given year. Mehl says while there might be strains people contract which are not protected in the shot, receiving it might impact the intensity of the flu.
“It’s not necessarily going to guarantee 100% that you’re not going to end up getting the flu,” said Mehl. “But [the shot] can lower your chances of getting a severe case of influenza.”
Many opt against getting the shot, believing that receiving it will make you sick. But Mehl says that’s a myth. The vaccine has an inactive dose of the virus. If people feel sick, it is their body reacting to the medication and building up more immunity. “There are some mild symptoms that a person could develop after receiving a flu shot but its not the full blown flu or full blown influenza.”
The Boone County Health Department adds the idea behind the flu shot is not only to protect yourself but to protect others.
“You’re going to be much less likely to transmit influenza to a small infant that you come into contact with, to your elderly grandmother that you’re visiting at an assisted living facility, to someone who’s very ill with a chronic disease that you’re visiting.”
The Boone County Department’s clinic takes walk-ins for anyone looking to get the influenza vaccine.