Influenza season has started. It’s already active in the Northeast and will predictably be in Oklahoma soon.
Influenza is actually a year-round virus, maintaining a very low level of activity in the warmer months. Cold weather and more indoor gathering create its active season.
When should you get the vaccine? Generally, as soon as it is available but definitely before the end of October (which is already late for those folks back east).
Many different vaccines are available now. All the 2022-2023 vaccines are “quadrivalent,” meaning they protect against four strains (two influenza A and two influenza B.) There are choices that are egg-free as well as the customary vaccines grown in eggs.
Older persons are better protected with high-dose vaccines. Most places offering flu shots will have at least one of these: Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent, Flublok Qudadrivalent recombinant (egg-free) and Fluad Quadrivalent Adjuvanted. If you are 65 or older, ask about one of these.
Children have risk from influenza, especially those younger than 2. Kids who have never had influenza vaccine generally need two doses, so starting early is important.
Covid-19 will likely make more appearances as the fall and winter progress. Remember there is a new bivalent vaccine booster that confers more protection against the newer Omicron variants.
Yes, you can get an influenza vaccine and Covid vaccine at the same time (but best to have only one shot in each arm).
Can you get the flu from a flu vaccine infection? No. The shots do not contain active virus. Typical symptoms like aching and feverishness are just from your immune system kicking into gear.
Are there people who shouldn’t get an influenza vaccine? CDC has guidance on the link below. Also, people at higher risk for influenza complications (including pregnancy) are mentioned in the other link below.
There is an available nasal spray vaccine but it’s not suitable for a lot of people, including people 50 and older and people who are immunocompromised. It’s best to ask your doctor whether the spray is your best bet.
Who Should and Who Should NOT Get a Flu Vaccine