While health experts recommend people to get vaccinated before the flu season sets in, getting the shot too early might actually lower the body’s immune response to the virus. Generally, doctors promote early vaccination, more specifically, before October.
However, new data suggests that getting the vaccine during the summer months has no beneficial effect on one’s protection to the influenza virus. Some doctors believe drug companies are now focused too much on marketing the serum rather than aim for people’s well-being. Of course, getting vaccinated too early is only one of the variables that can play a part in how prepared somebody is against the infection.
Because the flu season is not a scheduled event, there is no telling when exactly the infection will strike. Furthermore, the rate at which the illness spreads varies from one year to the next. Ultimately, scientists can only do so much when it comes to preparing the vaccine. While in some years, the researchers could get it to perfectly match the strains that affect the population, on other occasions, a mismatch considerably lowers a patient’s immune response to the virus.
Also, getting a flu shot does not mean one is 100 percent safe from the virus. Health experts say that the vaccine reduces the chances of contracting the disease by 50 percent, or 60 percent, in the best-case scenario. In order to determine whether getting the shot before the flu season sets in, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed past surveys that looked at the efficiency of the flu vaccine.
As it turns out, the vaccine tends to wear off by almost 7 percent each month for some strains. This means that by the time the flu season sets in, a person who thought was protected from the virus could have an unpleasant surprise.
To lower the risks of contracting the disease, some doctors believe the best way to go is to get people vaccinated in mid-October or mid-November. This way, scientists are positive the vaccine will be at its strongest even in case the flu season sets in earlier than previously anticipated. Past studies that analyzed when people were seeking the flu shot revealed that less than 2.4 Americans got the vaccine prior to September, while the peak month for flu shots was October when almost 18 percent of the population received the vaccine.
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