Flu shots now available for what could be a bad flu season

An effectiveness study shows flu shots are 65% effective. (Photo:Bettie Cross)

“It's brief. It stings for a second. You move on and it saves your life,” said Dr. Carly Thompson, a pediatrician for Premier Family Physicians.

Dr. Thompson is getting her flu shot on Wednesday at the Bee Cave office.

“It's the right time. It's not too early,” said Dr. Thompson.

She’s preparing for what could be a bad flu season. Shots are just now becoming available in the Austin area and early indications are that the United States and the Northern Hemisphere could have a worse than normal flu season. That's based on the troublesome winter that's just ending in the Southern Hemisphere. Australia is reporting a significant increase in flu cases this year over last year.

Getting the flu shot early means you're protected during the entire flu season which runs from October through March.

“We may see a spike as early as October and it takes a couple of weeks for the shot to work after you get it,” said Dr. Thompson.

If you don't like shots don't count on being able to get a nasal spray vaccine. This is the second year the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is not recommending use of FluMist. An effectiveness study found the nasal spray vaccine to be 46 percent effective compared to the flu shot which is 65 percent effective.

“FluMist is not actually offered at all. The CDC recommends that we're not giving that right now until more research is done. So, unfortunately, it's injectable for everybody this year,” said Dr. Thompson.

Some parents are less concerned with their children getting flu vaccines than other shots. But data shows that each year the flu kills more children in the United States than meningococcal infection (bacterial meningitis) and whooping cough combined.

“It's actually maybe one of the most important shots to get for your child,” said Dr. Thompson.

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