Dr. Richard Webby, member of the World Health Organization’s Influenza Vaccine Composition Advisory Team, responsible for each year’s vaccine composition recommendation, says “get the flu shot now”
MEMPHIS, TENN. – As coronavirus cases surge across the nation heading into the winter season, Dr. Richard Webby, a member of the Infectious Diseases Department at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the World Health Organization’s Influenza Vaccine Composition Advisory Team, encourages all Americans to use October to get this year’s newly reformulated flu vaccine to receive full protection.
“Taking roughly two weeks to build up immunity in your body, it is important to get the flu vaccine by the end of October to have full protection before influenza season arrives,” said Dr. Richard Webby, a member of the Infectious Diseases Department at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the World Health Organization’s Influenza Vaccine Composition Advisory Team. “It is the most effective tool we have to stave off the influenza virus. We can all help save lives by getting the flu shot now in order for it to provide maximum immunity.”
The World Health Organization Influenza Vaccine Composition Advisory Team members, released recommendations earlier this year on the composition of the flu vaccine for the Northern Hemisphere. The recommendations are used to guide national vaccine regulatory agencies and pharmaceutical companies to develop, produce and license influenza vaccines.
“To avoid what could be a volatile dual influenza and COVID-19 season this fall and winter in the United States, now is the time to get the flu shot,” Webby said. “The absolute best way for the public to prepare against this unique and unpredictable scenario is to protect themselves now and not to wait for influenza activity to start before getting the flu shot.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people receive a flu shot by the end of October. Given it takes approximately two weeks for the influenza vaccine to build up enough antibodies to offer the shots full protections against the influenza virus, people shouldn’t wait until the flu starts spreading in their community.
“The more people who get the flu shot will result in less severe influenza in our communities, resulting in less of an impact on our medical facilities and greater protection for the entire population,” Webby said. “Let’s not wait for a spike in flu cases to take action. The bottom line is the flu shot is still the most valuable and life-saving public health tool in preventing and spreading the flu while protecting our most vulnerable family, friends, and neighbors.”
Dr. Webby is a leading, expert voice on the importance of getting the flu-shot with guest pieces in CNN, Newsweek, & FOX News. A world-renowned virologist, he is an often-sought-after source for on-the-record commentary by national, international and local media for expert advice and analysis on the spread of influenza and other contagious viruses.
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St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and cures childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. It is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. St. Jude is ranked the No. 1 pediatric cancer hospital by U.S. News & World Report. Treatments developed at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to 80 percent since the hospital opened more than 50 years ago. St. Jude freely shares the breakthroughs it makes, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children. Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing and food — because all a family should worry about is helping their child live. To learn more, visit stjude.org or follow St. Jude on social media at @stjuderesearch.