The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging people to act now, just before the October start of the 2018-19 flu season, and get vaccinated. That advice applies even to people who were vaccinated earlier this year.
Some of the age ranges for certain vaccines have been lowered, and some vaccines were reformulated to better prevent currently circulating viruses.
Getting a vaccine doesn’t mean you won’t get the flu, but if you do get sick it could be less severe, experts say.
A 2007 CDC study analyzed data from four flu seasons from 2010 to 2014 and found that “flu vaccination reduced the risk of flu-associated death by half, or 51 percent, among children with underlying high-risk medical conditions and by nearly two-thirds, 65 percent, among healthy children.”
Of the 180 children who died in the past year from flu, 80 percent had not been vaccinated during the season, the CDC said.
Vaccines to fight the flu also can protect women during and after pregnancy and protect a baby after delivery.
The push to take the flu seriously is especially relevant given the recent season.
“The 2017-18 season was the first season to be classified as a high severity across all age groups,” the CDC said.