MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Department of Health is reminding the public that now is the time to get the flu vaccine.
MDH reports it takes two weeks for the flu vaccine to begin working. Flu season runs October through May.
Jennifer Heath of MDH said fewer Minnesotans got the flu shot last year than the year before, even as drug companies come up with more ways to get the flu shot.
“The CDC doesn’t recommend one type of vaccine over the other,” Heath said. “You could really get whatever you choose.”
Heath said one reason there are more options than there were just a few years ago is because the number of people getting the flu shot has declined.
More clinics are offering newer flu vaccines that protect against more strains of the flu and vaccines that are catered to older adults or pregnant women.
However, Heath said there is not yet evidence that supports the newer vaccines protect any better than the traditional flu shot. MDH reports less than half of adults in Minnesota got the flu shot last year and just over half of children got the shot. Minnesota numbers are in line with the national average, Heath said.
Last flu season’s popular nasal mist alternative to the needle is not an option this year.
“The nasal spray didn’t have as good of effectiveness as the shot so [the CDC] decided not to recommend it this year,” Heath said.
Heath said drug companies are working on tweaking the nasal spray and reintroducing it in the future.
The health department is particularly concerned that more people over 65 are choosing not to get the flu shot. That’s one of the groups they say need it the most.