“The worst in nearly a decade.”
“The worst in over a decade” is how the 2017-2018 flu season was described by The New York Times. The CDC classified the 2017-2018 flu season as “high severity,” accounting for drastic levels of hospitalizations due to multiple factors. The flu impacted all age groups as severely as one another, the season was longer than previous years, and for those experiencing the flu, the symptoms last longer than the previous years. The flu season took storm in early October and lasted out through late March, and for the first time ever, affected all age groups with the same level of severity.
When and who should get vaccinated?
Today, the CDC urges everyone to go out and get vaccinated prior to the season beginning in October. According to the CDC, the vaccination can take up to two weeks for the body to develop the necessary immunity to the flu. The CDC recommends the flu vaccine for all healthy individuals, aged 6 months and above, especially pregnant women, elderly, and children as they hold the most risk for complications from the flu. In addition, there should be no concern of getting the shot too early as the vaccination holds strength as the year goes progresses. The only concern should exist within waiting to get the vaccination too late after you’ve already experienced flu-like symptoms.
Will the Vaccine prevent me from getting the flu?
The annual vaccine isn’t foolproof. Researchers cannot provide a vaccine that covers every possible influenza strain but instead targets the four most common strains for this upcoming season. Based on 2017-2018 data, the Vaccine was 40% effective in reducing the susceptibility and the severity of contracting the flu and was nearly 48% effective in 2015-2016 (Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices). For some those might not seem like staggering statistics, but imagine how a shot can reduce your chances of missing work or hospitalization by nearly 50%. Potentially saving the person the time spent recovering, the medical costs, and their well-being.
How can I get a vaccination?
Ask your medical staff today! The majority of health insurance plans will cover the cost of a flu vaccine as a preventative measure, but contact your insurance to be sure. Any public health insurance, such as Medicare, is required by the AHA to provide their beneficiaries with flu shot coverage. If not insured, there are many options still available for you throughout the community. From pharmacy to urgent care, and even here at River Bend Medical Associates you can get your flu vaccine. For those non-insured or with plans that do not offer preventative coverage, look to these resources to steer clear from the flu:
Employer: Many employers offer flu shot coverage to their employees. Ask your supervisor or coworkers today.
Sacramento County: Offers free flu vaccines for community members aged 6 months and up on set days until December 14th. Check out the next flu clinic date here.
Costco: Offers a flat rate of $19.99 for the flu vaccine, one of the cheapest options for a paid vaccine out there.
CVS: Has flu shots starting from $22 depending on location, and has $5 off $25 coupons online.
Walmart: $35 per flu vaccine
Walgreens, Rite Aid: Both around $40 per vaccine.