Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Optimum window for seasonal flu vaccination

I had been given the information that the protection due to seasonal flu vaccine attenuates if one gets it too early in the season.

I decided to research that information.

This article on the Flu of 1918 suggests that our immune system has an incredibly long "memory".   Blood was drawn from people who had been alive during the "Spanish Flu" of 1918.  Antibodies were extracted from the blood and the antibodies were tested against the flu which had been reconstructed from cadavers recovered from the permafrost.

Bear in mind that the blood was obtained from senior citizens...really senior, and that senior citizens are not celebrated for having the most robust immune systems.  Also bear in mind that their immune systems had not been challenged by this virus for over eighty years so there was no booster effect.

The antibodies were still very effective and slaying the Spanish Flu virus, even after eighty or ninety years!

One source is good, two is better.

I was not able to find any studies on humans showing antibody titers-vs- days after vaccination.  These curves were generated in studies on mice, presumably selected for having immune responses similar to humans
 Key point:  Antibody levels have risen to therapeutic levels by day 28 and continue to rise for a full seventy days then they flat-line out past three-hundred days post-vaccination.

If the first seasonal flu challenge that concerns you is the first day of school, then vaccinating your little rascals a month before the first day of school is a smart move.  The antibodies don't wear out.

The flu strains that are in circulation "evolve around" the ones in the vaccine thus giving the appearance that the vaccine has become less effective.  It is not that the antibodies your body created in response to the vaccine wore out or disappeared.  The target changed.

If the first challenge that worries you is Thanksgiving Holiday when people jet all over the globe, then getting your vaccination at least a month before Thanksgiving is a good move.  Getting it two months before Thanksgiving is an even better move.
Mrs ERJ suggested that I get the flu shot in the Drive Thru lane.  She wanted to see how that worked.  I like flirting with the girls so I went inside.  Now she has me wondering how it works.

Disclosure, I will be trotting into town to get my flu shot in just a few minutes.  I don't see a downside to getting it "early".

1 comment:

  1. I think you're probably right, but every time I get the shot, I'm sick for three days... sigh