Because the side effects are so exceedingly rare, getting the flu shot is really a must-do, particularly for certain groups of people
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently released a statement urging parents to have their kids (and themselves) vaccinated against the flu for the upcoming 2011-2012 flu season, even if they had flu shots last year. While this year's vaccine protects against the same three viruses it did last year, the AAP says that a person's immunity can decrease by up to 50 percent as early as six months after the shot.
Former ice skating champion Kristi Yamaguchi is working hard with the organization Faces of Influenza to spread word about the importance of getting one's flu vaccine. We spoke to Yamaguchi and Dr. Normal Edelman, the Chief Medical Officer of the American Lung Association (ALA), which heads the Faces of Influenza campaign, about why it's so important to re-vaccinate this year.
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According to Dr. Edelman, a person's immunity decreases significantly from year to year, although the reasons for this aren't exactly clear. He says that because the side effects of the vaccines are so exceedingly rare, getting the flu shot is really a must-do, particularly for certain groups of people. Seniors, pregnant women, children, and people with chronic disease -- any chronic illness, he says -- at higher risk for flu-related complications. He tells us that while in the past, it was the complications from the flu that posed the major dangers, "H1N1 changed all that -- severe reactions occurred in otherwise healthy young people. Many people died just from flu virus alone, not from the complications." This is reason enough to drop by your local pharmacist and get the shot.