Flu season is almost upon us in California. This year’s influenza vaccine inoculates against the same strains as last year.
Health officials say flu activity starts up in October, so it’s too early to tell what the dominant strain will be this year, and how well matched it is to the vaccine.
Dr. Dean Blumberg of UC Davis says flu shots only provide protection for about 6-12 months, so even people who got last year’s vaccine should consider getting it again.
“I recommend getting vaccinated as soon as the vaccine is available," says Blumberg. "I don’t know if the influenza season is going to hit next week, next month, or if it’s going to peak in February.”
The Centers for Disease Control says you can still get the flu even if you get a shot, but the vaccine could make your case less severe.
The Affordable Care Act has made preventive services like the flu shot free for many people with insurance.