Flu shot covers 3 strains this season

9-25-13-flu vaccine
The live, weakened version of a number of flu strains are included in the nasal flu vaccine. (KOIN 6 News, file video screenshot)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Flu season is expected to start in November, and health officials suggest getting a flu vaccine now.

This year most clinics are offering a flu shot that protects against three strains of the flu. Nasal sprays this year can protect against four strains.

A flu shot being administered (KOIN 6 News, file)

A flu shot being administered (KOIN 6 News, file)

The vaccine changes on a yearly basis and is created based on strains from the previous year.

Those 65 and older can get extra protection this year. “There’s a vaccine made specifically for them that has a higher dose of the flu vaccine to increase immunity,” said Physician Assistant Andrew Bodmer with Providence Medical Group.

Bodmer said almost everyone should get the vaccine, especially those with young children or anyone who works in the medical community.

He also said to not believe the notion the vaccine can give you the flu.

“The flu vaccine, at least the shot, will not make you sick,” he told KOIN 6 News. “It’s pure coincidence if you get sick after the flu shot. And if you get the nasal spray, that can make you sick because it’s what we call a live vaccine — actual live, but weakened vaccine.”


Four-year-old Makenzi Privett receives a dose of a nasal spray vaccine from a registered nurse in this 2009 Associated Press file photo. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Tell your doctor, too, if you have an egg allergy.

“If you have a true egg allergy you need to let your physician know because there are vaccines that have been created and harvested outside of an egg,” he said. “But the vast majority of flu vaccine has been produced in eggs.”

Around 95% of insurance plans cover the flu vaccine.

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