4 doctors weighed in:

Why do I have to get a flu shot every year when other vaccines I can just get once?

4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Michael Klein
Family Medicine
2 doctors agree

In brief: Flu changes

The influenza virus mutates as it travels around the world each year. It arrives back changed enough that our immune system does not recognize it from the last round (or shot) this means we have to get vaccinated each year for the new "strains" of flu since our body perceives it as a new virus.
Some years the virus changes more than others, leading to worse epidemics if the shot is rigged wrong.

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In brief: Flu changes

The influenza virus mutates as it travels around the world each year. It arrives back changed enough that our immune system does not recognize it from the last round (or shot) this means we have to get vaccinated each year for the new "strains" of flu since our body perceives it as a new virus.
Some years the virus changes more than others, leading to worse epidemics if the shot is rigged wrong. Get your question answered live by a real doctor ›
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Dr. Michael Klein
Family Medicine , 14 years in practice
Dr. James Ferguson
Pediatrics

In brief: Reality

The flu viruses tend to mutate more often than other viruses.
That mutation changes the shell surrounding their insides so the antibodies from past vaccines do not recognize them.(or kill them). In a given year there are at least 4-6 strains circling the globe & air travel increases the spread. Each year they pick the newest strains by frequency to be in the new shot. It's the best plan we have

The doctor will see you now ›

In brief: Reality

The flu viruses tend to mutate more often than other viruses.
That mutation changes the shell surrounding their insides so the antibodies from past vaccines do not recognize them.(or kill them). In a given year there are at least 4-6 strains circling the globe & air travel increases the spread. Each year they pick the newest strains by frequency to be in the new shot. It's the best plan we have The doctor will see you now ›
Do you have a follow-up question?
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Dr. James Ferguson
Pediatrics , 39 years in practice
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Dr. Vicken Poochikian
Board Certified, Internal Medicine
39 years in practice
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