Flu shot time - getting vaccine that's right for you

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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Believe it or not it's almost flu season.

We never know exactly when the virus will peak in our area. But now is the time to get a flu shot.

There are some new recommendations this year, and also some new types of the vaccine.

Consumer Reports has a look at who the changes will affect, and what families need to know.

The vaccine is the best defense against the flu.

But which type you get depends on your age and health.

This summer, the CDC made the unusual move to recommend AGAINST the nasal vaccine FluMist.

"In the last 3 years, FluMist offered little if any protection against the flu in children between the ages of 2 and 17," says Dr. Orly Avitzur, Consumer Reports Medical Director.

By comparison, when kids got a shot, the vaccine was 63 percent effective at preventing the flu.

Adults 18 to 64 have the option of getting the vaccine with a smaller microneedle.

It only pierces the skin, which should be less painful than the traditional shot injected into the muscle.

And for people 65 and older, there are new formulations to consider.

Research shows standard vaccines may not generate as much immunity as in younger adults.

FluZone High Dose is 4 times stronger than the normal vaccine, while another type - Fluad - has an immune system booster.

Check with your doctor on those.

"When it comes to timing the shot, healthy people under the age of 60 or so can benefit from longer protection by getting the vaccine as soon as it becomes available," says Dr. Avitzur.

That means late summer or now, early fall.

For seniors, it's best to get the vaccine now as well.

That way it should give its best protection when flu season typically peaks.

And no matter your age, keep in mind, it takes about two weeks to build up immunity.

And most of the vaccines now cover 4 strains, instead of three.

Flu shots are covered by most insurance plans.

Local pharmacies have vaccine in stock, and many counties in our area have started their free flu shot clinics.

For information on area clinics, click on the link below:

Bucks County flu shot clinics

Chester County flu shot clinics

Montgomery County flu shot clinics

Camden County flu shot clinics

Burlington County flu shot program

Gloucester County flu shot program

Salem County flu shot program

Atlantic County flu shot program