Yearly influenza vaccinations are extremely important because it builds the body’s immune system to respond and fight off viral infection. And getting a flu shot this year takes on added importance because flu and new coronavirus symptoms are nearly identical.
“I recommend yearly vaccinations, but if a person hasn’t had one in a while, this year is the year to do it,” said Steve Lee, M.D., president of the Conviva Physician Group, a physician-led network operating in nine markets in Florida and Texas.
“We specialize in the care of seniors, and since they fall into the high-risk category, I encourage our patients and the general public to get vaccinated to protect against this highly contagious virus,” he said.
People who receive an annual flu shots normally have very few side effects, unless a new, significantly different strain of vaccine is introduced. Based on epidemiological tracking studies, the human body builds up a substantial immune system response to combat influenza when vaccinations are received annually.
“I encourage everyone not to wait until flu season is in full swing, and to get their vaccinations now,” said Dr. Lee. “Flu seasons varies from temperate to the tropical climates, and a variety of vaccines are available this year,” he said. “It’s important that people check with their primary care doctor, who will advise them on which vaccine they need for the best protection.”
The Center for Disease Control also recommends that the earlier a person receives a flu shot, the better. Immunity to the virus may last up to six months, in most cases. The flu season predictably lasts into late spring, and typically peaks between December and February.
The perception of the effectiveness of flu vaccines has varied over the years. The shift in consciousness toward getting flu shots was uneven at best prior to the outbreak of the H1N1 swine flue in the 1970s. Up to that point, many people were fairly apathetic about getting a flu shot, but the epidemic triggered a rush to receive vaccinations.
“We went from being a very naive population, to a highly immunized population almost overnight,” said William Russell, M.D., managing partner of Conviva Palm Beach.
With a focus on cellular technology, vaccines are now purified to a much higher degree to genetically characterize strains. This indicates a significant improvement in the vaccine’s profile, and provides additional protection and additional choices.
To learn more, visit ConvivaCareCenters.com, or call 1-833-CONVIVA.
Published December 16, 2020
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