So this year’s influenza recommendations are out, with a couple of surprises. First, everyone should get one, BUT kids under two should NOT get the live version. Nor should anyone over 49. I’m not sure why a fifty-year-old is suddenly less immune, but that’s the guideline. “The recommendations note that a statistically significant decrease in antibody titers occurs by 6 months after vaccination for people ≥65 years of age.” So if you are aware that the maximum peak of influenza season occurs in February, often continuing through April here in Maine, then holding off on the vaccine until at least October seems like the safest choice.
Now, there’s always a question about whether this year’s vaccine will be effective. The answer is that we (anyone currently living) don’t know. “The incidence of medically attended influenza varies greatly by year and even by geographic region within the same year. The number of cases averted by vaccination varies greatly based on overall incidence and on vaccine coverage.” (study here)
If we look at last year’s numbers: “during November 10, 2014-January 2, 2015. During this period, overall vaccine effectiveness (VE) (adjusted for study site, age, sex, race/ethnicity, self-rated health, and days from illness onset to enrollment) against laboratory-confirmed influenza associated with medically attended ARI was 23% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 8%-36%)” (study here). So whether or not you get the vaccine in September, you want to do everything else you can do to avoid getting influenza. I’ve compiled a list of some other options: https://altmedhealthtreat.wordpress.com/2014/03/08/flu-prevention-beyond-a-shot/