Time for Flu Shots

Time for Flu Shots

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Now that Labor Day has passed, some doctors say it‘s time to get your flu shot, well ahead of the start of flu season.

The vaccine is available already at many clinics, and some flu shots offer added protection this year.  There are some vaccines that protect against four strains of flu rather than three, which has been typical since the 1970‘s.

Both of the ‘A‘ strains of flu have always been covered by the vaccine, “but there are two families of B, and in the past decade or so, the World Health Organization guessed wrong 50-percent of the time which strain would be in there,” said Dr. Christopher Belcher, a pediatric infectious disease physician at Peyton Manning Children‘s Hospital in Indianapolis.   Belcher says many clinics have the four-strain variety of vaccine, though some still provide the shots that only cover three strains of flu.

“The live virus – the nasal (spray) is always the four-strains.  But the injectable (vaccine), some have three, some have four,” Belcher said, adding that your clinic should be able to tell you which vaccines they offer.

There is also a new version of the flu vaccine that is not made using eggs, which has prevented those with egg allergies from getting flu shots in the past.  “It is made with recombinant DNA technology that doesn‘t require eggs,” Belcher said.  However, the egg-free vaccine is only approved for people 18 or older.