It’s officially fall, and that means we are entering into prime time flu season.
Whether you’re a student or a working professional – it’s important to get your flu shot as soon as you can. Spending an hour today can prevent missing 3 weeks of school (midterms, assignments, labs? How could you ever make that up!!?) or blowing your entire annual PTO on an illness you potentially could have prevented.
The flu vaccine this year is quadrivalent, meaning it contains four different strains.
- A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus
- A/Singapore/INFIMH-16-0019/2016 A(H3N2)-like virus (updated)
- B/Colorado/06/2017-like (Victoria lineage) virus (updated)
- And some will also have a with fourth strain: B/Phuket/3073/2013-like (Yamagata lineage) virus.
Shout out to Michigan! This particular strain was identified here at UM and tested in Dr. Arnold Monto’s research team. Pretty cool. So for you Michiganders, get your shot to show some school spirit! Go Blue!
Professor Emily Martin, an Epidemiologist at UM shared some thoughts on the flu vaccine for the Detroit Free Press. Here are some of the highlights:
Can you get sick from the flu shot?
NO! The Flu shot is inactivated. If the vaccine makes you feel a little bit sick (achy/tired for a day, that’s just your immune response). It is fall, colds are going around and it’s possible you might come down with something. But you cannot get the flu from the shot.
How effective is the flu shot?
Short answer: it varies. If the majority of flu viruses circulating are H1N1 flus, the effectiveness is higher (can be 60-70% range), whereas the shot is less effective for H3N2 (20-30% range). Last flu season, the final effectiveness was 25% vs. H3N2; 65% vs. H1N1, and 49% against influenza B.
So the vaccine isn’t perfect – but it is still better to get the flu vaccine! “the people who get vaccinated as a whole — even though it’s not as good as we want it to be — they are still getting flu less often than the people who don’t get the vaccine.”
When should you get the shot?
Try to get the shot before the end of October, especially in places like college campuses, where infections can take off and spread rapidly.
Where can you get the flu shot? Does it matter?
While there are a number of vaccines available on the market, Dr. Martin expressed that “for the most part, everybody is offering a similar vaccine. Some of the differences that we’re seeing in the manufacturing now, is we see most vaccines with four strains. We are seeing now that some vaccines have a higher quantity of antigen in it, and these are called high-dose vaccines. Older adults may be interested in asking their doctors for a high-dose vaccine. Those might be a little harder to find at a pharmacy or someplace that isn’t a primary doctor’s office.”
If you are a Michigan student, check here for the schedule of vaccine clinics on campus.
Otherwise, you can get the flu shot at your local Walgreens or CVS.
Look how much fun it is to get your shot!