Facts on flu shots


Elizabeth Valadez

Students can get their flu shots at multiple locations, including Kroger, CVS and Walgreens.

In the 2017-2018 flu season alone, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 185 pediatric deaths. 80 percent of these children, defined as 18 years or younger, did not have their flu vaccination.

This is why Bethany Mendez, a RN at the SHS clinic, feels getting a flu vaccination is important. This is because even if people do not get their vaccination and do not get the flu, people with weaker immune systems, like young babies and older people, could be affected by this choice.

“A lot of teens assume they do not need (the vaccination),” Mendez said. “But it’s not always about them.”

Jennifer Maki, a nurse practitioner at a retail clinic, says that the flu can be extremely dangerous. The healthiest of people can die from the flu. This adds importance to getting a vaccination, even if it can only protect against a portion of flu viruses, according to Maki. She thinks that being vaccinated is better than being bedridden for seven to 10 days from the flu.

According to the CDC, the flu vaccination contains three or four strains of flu that research suggests will be the most common that year. Maki says this year the vaccination will protect against two influenza A strains and two influenza B strains.

Maki thinks there are very few downsides to receiving an annual vaccination. She says that a person could be allergic to what is in the shot or could have a reaction to what it contains, but that would only be a reaction to its ingredients, not a live flu virus.

The CDC reports that it is best to get a shot before the flu starts spreading around communities, as it takes two weeks to fully protect against the different strains. It suggests getting the vaccination by the end of October, but later is better than never.

“The best time is now,” Mendez said.

Students can go to any retail clinics, like those at Kroger, Walgreens or CVS to receive flu vaccinations. They can also go to their primary-care doctors or urgent-care centers. Most insurances cover flu shots, but the average cost at retail clinics typically ranges from $25 to $40 for vaccinations that contain four strains.