posted on Oct, 2 2018 @ 02:29 PM
a reply to: Skorpiogurl
The flu shot basically tinkers a bit with your odds of getting the flu. You're just sort of hedging your bets a bit. It's not a guarantee one way or
the other for you.
Every year, the scientists sort of study the circulating flu strains a guess which ones are going to be the most prevalent over the course of the
season. From these, they pick three to go into the vaccine. The three they pick are from different viral "families" because they won't be the only
strains in circulation, but sometimes, closely related strains will be partially protected against by the vaccine meaning if you catch a closely
related variant strain, the one in your vaccine might lessen the severity of the one you do catch because you body will have a partial immunity to it
and head start in fighting it.
However, even if you are exposed to the exact same strain as what is in your vaccine, you should understand that you're only looking at a 50 to 60%
chance that the vaccine will grant you protection. That's because the flu strains mutate so quickly rendering the vaccine strains less perfect, but it
should still blunt the severity of the illness you do catch.
So basically, you would be looking at the odds of getting sick from an exposure which are seldom 100% anyhow and then whatever your vaccine chance
modifies it to.
In other words, your annual flu vaccine is far less likely to protect you than your MMR vaccine will, so only you can answer the question of how
worthwhile that hedging of your bets is. For some people, like those with COPD or asthma or pregnant women or those with weakened immune systems or
the very old or very young whose systems are just naturally weaker or health care workers who risk transmitting the flu to severely immunocompromised
patients, I'd say the extra hedging is likely a good idea, if not for their own sake then the sake of those around them.