Amy Pisani: Hi! My name is Amy Pisani and I am the Executive Director of Every Child by Two. Today, we're talking about vaccines and during this video I'll be discussing the importance of protecting your family against seasonal influenza. During influenza season, we're all looking for ways to avoid illness, and keep our families healthy.
The single best way to protect against the flu is to be vaccinated each year. The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices which is a group of scientists, doctors, and other vaccine experts who put together vaccine schedules for the United States recommends that everyone six months and older get the flu vaccine.
For those of you who say, I never get the flu or I've had before and it wasn't too bad, you should know that even healthy people can get very sick from the flu. Each year, an average of 23,000 people die and approximately 200,000 people are hospitalized with flu-related complications.
Dr. Paul Offit: So those at highest risk of being hospitalized or dying from influenza every year are young infants, meaning babies less than six months of age, pregnant women, people over 65 years of age, people who have asthma or other lung diseases, people with diabetes, people with chronic renal diseases, they are at the highest risk. But, I think what one should know is that everyone is at some risk and because we have a vaccine to prevent it, the vaccine is really recommended for everyone.
Amy Pisani: Three different strains of the flu virus; makeup the seasonal flu vaccine each year. To choose these strains, scientists look at information gathered over the previous year regarding the flu virus strains that are infecting humans and how they are evolving. Based on this information, the World Health Organization recommends the specific virus strains that should be used to make up the seasonal vaccine. After this process has been completed, vaccine manufacturers begin the process of creating the new flu vaccine which can take anywhere from 6-9 months to produce.
The new strains of virus are basically inserted into the standard mix of flu vaccine ingredients which remain consistent year after year, thus allowing faster approval of a safe vaccine in time for flu season each year. People should get the flu vaccine as soon as it's available in their community, and can continue to get the vaccine in December, January, and beyond.
In addition to your doctor's office, you can get vaccinated at a variety of locations including walk-in medical clinics located in your local pharmacy, health departments, and other medical facilities. For providers other than your physician, you should call ahead for vaccine availability and to find out if there are age restrictions.
Flu vaccines are available in both the shot and nasal spray. Both are equally effective but the nasal spray is only for healthy people 2 to 49 years of age. Talk to your doctor about which vaccine is best for you and your family, and remember that the best way to protect your family is to ensure that all members are vaccinated each year.