Lane County Public Health Urges Community Members to Get a Flu Shot Early This Year

Lane County Public Health Urges Community Members to Get a Flu Shot Early This Year
Posted on 09/26/2017
Lane County Public Health (LCPH) is urging community members to get the flu shot early in order to prevent as much influenza in our community as possible. During the 2016-2017 flu season, Lane County saw an alarming prevalence of flu throughout the county and, as a result, double-digit deaths attributed to influenza. Getting an annual flu vaccine, and getting it early in the season, is the first and best way to protect yourself, your family and your community from the flu. Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctor visits, and missed work and school, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations. In 2017, a study from the American Academy of Pediatrics was the first of its kind to show that flu vaccination also significantly reduced a child’s risk of dying from influenza.

“We know pretty clearly that the more people who get vaccinated, the more people will be protected from flu, including older people, very young children, pregnant women, and people with certain long-term health conditions who are more vulnerable to serious flu complications,” said Lane County Health Officer Patrick Luedtke, M.D.

While flu season generally lasts from early fall through early spring, it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies that protect against flu to develop in the body, so LCPH is recommending community members make plans to get vaccinated early so they will have immunity once the season is in full swing. Getting vaccinated later, however, can still be beneficial and vaccination should continue to be offered throughout the flu season.

Some flu shots protect against three flu viruses (Trivalent) and some protect against four flu viruses (Quadrivalent) and both are currently available at the Lane County Communicable Disease Clinic as well as a number of pharmacies throughout Lane County. This season, only injectable flu vaccines (flu shots) are recommended as the recommendation to not use the nasal spray flu vaccine (LAIV) was renewed for the 2017-2018 season.

The composition of U.S. flu vaccines is reviewed annually and updated as needed to match circulating flu viruses. Flu vaccines protect against the three or four viruses (depending on the vaccine) that research suggests will be most common. For 2017-2018, three-component vaccines are recommended to contain:
• A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus (updated)
• A/Hong Kong/4801/2014 (H3N2)-like virus
• B/Brisbane/60/2008-like (B/Victoria lineage) virus

Quadrivalent (four-component) vaccines, which protect against a second lineage of B viruses, are recommended to be produced using the same viruses recommended for the trivalent vaccines, as well as a B/Phuket/3073/2013-like (B/Yamagata lineage) virus.

It is important to note that pregnant women may receive any licensed, recommended, and age-appropriate flu vaccine. Additionally, for our older community members who are among those most at risk, a high-dose vaccine is available.