The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department recognizes National Influenza Vaccination Week as a critical opportunity to remind everyone 6 months and older that there’s still time to get a flu vaccine. Receiving a flu vaccine is the best protection for yourself and your loved ones against flu and its potentially serious complications. CDC data shows that flu vaccination coverage was lower last season, especially among certain higher risk groups, such as pregnant people and children. When you get a flu vaccine, you reduce your risk of illness, and flu-related hospitalization if you do get sick.
Flu season runs from October to May, with a peak usually occurring in February. Getting vaccinated at any time during the season can keep you and others from falling ill and missing work or school. There is still time to benefit from the first and most important action in preventing flu illness and potentially serious flu complications: get a flu vaccine today.
Let’s Talk About Flu Vaccines!
Do flu vaccines cause the flu?
That’s something a lot of people have heard, but it is not true! Some people may have light side effects like soreness or redness on the shot area, a slight fever, a headache, or sometimes muscle aches, but this is all a sign our bodies are recognizing the flu virus and building up a defense system in case the real thing comes along! The side effects usually go away quickly — much quicker than the flu lasts!
If it can cause side effects, how is that any better than getting the flu?
That’s a great and understandable question! While the flu vaccine doesn’t prevent everyone from getting the flu, it greatly reduces the chance of getting severely ill from the flu. So why take the chance? Save yourself and your little ones from serious complications by getting the flu vaccine today!
What if you’ve already had the flu?
While you should probably wait a few weeks to get vaccinated if you are actively sniffling and feverish, there is still a benefit to getting vaccinated after you’ve recovered from the flu. That’s because there are often several strains of influenza virus circulating every season, and infection with one doesn’t necessarily protect you from another.
Flu vaccines, however, are designed to protect against four different strains of influenza that scientists expect to be dominant each season. (This why you often hear or see the work “quadrivalent” in association with influenza vaccines)
Where can I find the vaccine?
Most pharmacies, primary care doctors, urgent care centers and county health departments carry flu vaccines well into spring. Moreover, to find a flu vaccine, you can use the CDC’s vaccines.gov database or Santa Barbara County’s 2023-2024 Flu Vaccine Resource.