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Who Should Get a Flu Shot?

  • Category: Wellness
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: St. John's Health
Who Should Get a Flu Shot?

Getting an annual flu shot is essential to help protect yourself from the different variants of seasonal flu viruses (influenza). The best time to receive the flu shot is in the Fall before the peak of flu season hits.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone six months and older get the flu shot annually.

Certain people may have a greater likelihood of experiencing complications if they contract the flu. As a result, these specific groups should get the flu shot:

  • Pregnant women
  • People aged 65 and older
  • People with chronic medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease
  • Those with weakened immune systems

Vaccination is crucial for these individuals, as they are more likely to experience severe illness if they contract the flu.

Pregnant Women & Unborn Children

Pregnancy can affect a woman's immune system, making her more susceptible to infections like the flu. This is due to hormonal changes and the body's natural immune system suppression to prevent it from attacking the growing fetus. The flu shot can help boost the immune system and protect against the virus. When a woman gets the flu shot during pregnancy, the antibodies produced by her body can also protect her baby after birth. Babies cannot get the flu shot until they are six months old, so this passive immunity can help protect them during the vulnerable first few months of life.

Older Adults 65+

Older adults need the flu vaccine because they are at a higher risk of severe health complications or even death from the flu. Because of age-related changes in their immune system, seniors often have a more challenging time fighting off influenza infections and require more medical care if they get the flu. By getting vaccinated, older adults are protecting themselves from the potentially severe effects of influenza.

Those With Chronic Health Conditions

People with chronic conditions have weaker immune systems, which makes them more susceptible to infections and complications from illnesses like the flu. Getting a flu shot can help protect them from it or reduce the severity of symptoms if they get it. This is especially important for people with chronic conditions because the flu can exacerbate existing health issues and lead to complications or hospitalization. Additionally, having a chronic condition may make it more difficult for the body to fight off the flu, making the flu shot a vital preventive measure for these individuals.

If you have any concerns regarding the flu vaccine and your medical history, it is best to consult with your provider.

Do You Need to Get the Flu Shot Every Year?

Immunity from one year's flu virus is not a given since the strain is constantly changing. It’s essential to obtain the new flu vaccine each year as it’s released to protect yourself against the current viruses. The flu vaccine encourages the body to generate antibodies that will fight the present strains of the virus. However, antibody levels can decrease over time, underscoring the importance of obtaining the new flu vaccine yearly.

St. John’s Health provides flu shots at multiple locations, including our clinics and retail pharmacy. Visit our flu shots information page to find a location near you.