Why the Flu Immunization is Important in Keeping Your Family Healthy

Why the Flu Immunization is Important in Keeping Your Family Healthy

As the seasons begin to change and cooler temperatures outside are approaching, the annual flu season is too. Now is the time to check in with your healthcare provider and ensure you’re taking preventative steps to keep yourself, your family, and your community safe this flu season. 

Each year the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates as many as 11% of people are infected with the flu in the United States alone—that is more than 30 million people. That’s just one of the many reasons why the flu immunization plays a large role in keeping both you and your family healthy. We’re answering some questions about the flu immunization and why it is so important for people of all ages to get a flu shot this season. Read on to learn more.

Why should I vaccinate myself and my family against the flu?

The flu is a contagious virus that spreads around the U.S. each year, typically between October and May. Anyone can contract the flu, but it is more dangerous for children, pregnant women, and people with certain health conditions or a weakened immune system. Preliminary estimates show that last season, people who were vaccinated were about 40% to 70% less likely to be hospitalized because of flu illnesses or related complications. By getting vaccinated, you can contribute to community immunity, protecting yourself and those who are more vulnerable to severe flu complications. 

When should my family get our flu immunizations?

The CDC recommends everyone six months and older get vaccinated every flu season by the end of October. Children between the ages of six months and eight years may need two doses during a single flu season. It takes about two weeks for protection to develop after the vaccine is received. Getting vaccinated too late during flu season might result in exposure before immunity is fully developed. It is also important to note that flu immunization may be given at the same time as other immunizations, like the COVID-19 vaccination. 

Is the flu immunization effective?

While vaccine effectiveness can vary, recent studies show that flu vaccination reduces the risk of contracting the flu by 40 to 60%. Even if vaccination does not provide complete protection, it can still reduce the severity of symptoms if you do get infected. The flu virus is capable of fairly rapid change, therefore, the vaccine is reformulated each year to account for the change in flu virus strains. Sometimes, unexpected changes in these strains can reduce vaccine effectiveness. More information on different flu vaccines available can be found here

What side effects can be expected from flu immunization?

Side effects after flu vaccination can include soreness, redness, and swelling in the injection site, as well as fever, muscle aches, and headaches. Tell your healthcare provider if you feel dizzy or experience vision changes or ringing in the ears, as people sometimes faint shortly after medical procedures, including vaccination. 

In today’s world where emerging viruses and pandemics are a constant concern, it is crucial to be prepared. As a parent or caregiver, you set an example. When others see you prioritizing your health through immunization, they are more likely to understand the importance of preventative healthcare.

Protect yourself and your community this season by getting your flu vaccine at a nearby Community Health Center. Click here to find one of West Virginia's 31 Community Health Center Organizations, with more than 400 locations across the state. 


The WVPCA is the largest organized primary care network in the state.