Infants, the sick and frail depend on others to get a flu shot. Seniors line in Fairfax, Va., waiting for an influenza virus vaccine shot. (UPI Photo/Roger L. Wollenberg) | License Photo
ATLANTA, Nov. 7 (UPI) -- A flu shot can reduce the risk a person gets the flu, make the flu less severe if caught and help those who can't be vaccinated, a U.S. health official says.
Anne Schuchat, assistant surgeon general of the U.S. Public Health Service and director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said there's a menu of vaccines this year.
"With the nasal spray, you sniff and you're done. There's also a version with a shorter needle. There is a vaccine that protects against four versions of the flu and one that protects against three. The choices depend on your needs," Schuchat said in a statement.
"That first cough or fever is not the time to think about influenza vaccination. Today is the time to start thinking about it, and to make the time for yourself and those you love."
It takes two weeks for the body to develop the antibodies to the strains of influenza in the flu shot that provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine.
However, the crucial thing is to just get vaccinated, Schuchat said.
Not everyone can get vaccinated against influenza. Infants under the age of six months or those immuno-compromised cannot get the yearly flu vaccine. They must depend on others to be vaccinated because if enough in the community develop immunity to the flu via the vaccination, the better their chances they won't sick from the flu.