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2014-2015 Flu Shot

September 16, 2014

Healthy people need the flu shot every year, especially to help protect those who are more vulnerable to complications from the virus.

Transcript

Queen's University

(Queen’s University)

BOB HIRSHON (host):

An annual dose of public health. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

This year’s flu shot protects against the same strains of the virus as last year’s did. But just about everyone over the age of six months should still get vaccinated, according to Vanderbilt University infectious disease expert William Schaffner. That’s because the antibodies in the vaccine eventually wear off…

WILLIAM SCHAFFNER (Vanderbilt University):

…and the flu virus is wily, and it can mutate.

HIRSHON:

He says it is possible that younger, healthier people might get longer lasting protection from the shot.

SCHAFFNER (Vanderbilt University):

You’re immune system is stronger, and there will be some carryover protection. But the people we want to protect the most are often older, they’re frail, they have underlying illnesses; and then, you know, we robust people, we can’t be absolutely sure we’re gonna be protected; we don’t want to spread this virus to anyone else, and we need to all be good citizens and get vaccinated annually.

HIRSHON:

I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.