What Should I Know About The 2021
For starters, its important to know that its highly recommended that you get vaccinated against the flu even though last years flu season was mild, thanks, in large part, to many people masking, staying indoors, and taking other preventive measures to avoid the spread of COVID-19.
A minimal flu season last year doesnt mean were in the clear this year. In fact, weve already seen flu outbreaks this flu season, such as the massive outbreak at the University of Michigan campus. Dr. Agarwal says theres a possibility that outbreaks will continue throughout the flu season as people loosen up on illness-reducing behaviors like wearing face masks. And its important to remember that some people do end up with complications from the flu.
Flu viruses are always changing, so flu vaccine formulas are reviewed every year to best protect people against the viruses that are predicted to cause the most illness, according to the CDC. All of the vaccines available for the 2021-2022 flu season, whether theyre via nasal or needle administration, protect against the same four flu viruses circulating heavily right now.
According to the CDC, one vaccine isnt any better than the other, but if you have any questions about whether one might be best for you, then its always safest to talk to your doctor.
What About The Nasal Spray Vaccine
In addition to the flu shot, a nasal spray vaccine is available for non-pregnant individuals who are between the ages of 2 and 49. This vaccine uses a weakened form of influenza that cant cause disease.
As with the flu shot, people who have a mild illness can receive the nasal spray vaccine. However, people with moderate to severe illnesses may need to wait until theyve recovered.
What Side Effects Can Occur After Getting A Flu Vaccine
While a flu vaccine cannot give you flu illness, there are different side effects that may be associated with getting a flu shot or a nasal spray flu vaccine. These side effects are mild and short-lasting, especially when compared to symptoms of bad case of flu.
A flu shot: The viruses in a flu shot are killed , so you cannot get flu from a flu shot. Some minor side effects that may occur are:
Soreness, redness, and/or swelling where the shot was given
The nasal spray: The viruses in the nasal spray vaccine are weakened and do not cause severe symptoms often associated with influenza illness. In children, side effects from the nasal spray may include:
In adults, side effects from the nasal spray vaccine may include:
If these problems occur, they begin soon after vaccination and usually are mild and short-lived. A flu shot, like other injections, can occasionally cause fainting. Tell your provider if you feel dizzy or have vision changes or ringing in the ears. As with any medicine, there is a very remote chance of a vaccine causing a severe allergic reaction, other serious injury, or death.
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Who Should Not Get The Flu Vaccine
Children younger than 6 months are too young to receive a flu vaccine.
If you are interested in the influenza vaccine nasal spray, there are a few more things to know. Because it contains a live virus, you should not get the influenza nasal spray if you are pregnant, have a weakened immune system or are in close contact with persons who have a weakened immune system , or have taken an influenza antiviral medication within the last 48 hours.
Children and adolescents who receive aspirin or salicylate-containing medication should not receive the influenza nasal spray, nor should young children who have experienced an episode of wheezing in the last 12 months or who have been diagnosed with asthma. People with chronic health conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder or diabetes should talk with their health care provider before receiving the influenza nasal spray.
What Are Common Flu Vaccine Side Effects To Expect
According to the CDC, you may experience short-lived, minor side effects of the flu shot or nasal spray vaccineas is the case with any vaccination or medication. You might think that side effects are a bad thing, but theyre actually signs that your immune system is responding and getting ready to protect you.
Heres how it works: The flu shot contains inactivated or incomplete strains of the influenza virus, while the nasal spray contains live attenuated strains. Neither form of the vaccine contains live flu viruses that can thrive in your body.
When you get any type of vaccine, the whole purpose is to expose your immune system to the virus, infectious disease expert Amesh A. Adalja, M.D., senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, tells SELF. Your immune system will start to rev up in response. These dead, partial, and weakened viruses are enough to provoke your immune system to develop antibodies to guard you against live and threatening flu viruses. It usually takes about two weeks for those to kick in and offer you protection, per the CDC.
Sometimes your immune system does this without causing noticeable symptoms, but other times, youll experience a few minor side effects as a result. Here are the most common ones you might experience:
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Who Can Have The Flu Vaccine
The flu vaccine is given free on the NHS to people who:
- are 50 and over
- have certain health conditions
- are pregnant
- are in long-stay residential care
- receive a carer’s allowance, or are the main carer for an older or disabled person who may be at risk if you get sick
- live with someone who is more likely to get infections
- frontline health or social care workers
When Should You Get A Flu Shot
Exactly when the flu season starts and ends is unpredictable, so health officials recommend that people get their flu shot in early fall, preferably by the end of October, the CDC says. The same recommendation applies this year as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Flu activity typically peaks in January or February.
“We’d like to get as many people protected against influenza before influenza becomes active in communities across the country,” Schaffner said.
Most flu vaccines are given before Thanksgiving, Schaffner said, but people can still get their shot throughout the winter months. Each season’s flu shot expires in June of that year, but Schaffner said that he would consider it “too late” to get a flu vaccine after March, unless a person is traveling to the Southern Hemisphere .
After vaccination, it takes a person about two weeks to build up immunity against the flu.
People can visit the CDC’s VaccineFinder.org to find flu shot locations.
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So Can You Get A Flu Shot When Youre Sick
Pull up a seatweve got a few things to cover here. While the CDC is kinda-totally vague about whether its okay to get a flu shot when youre sick, the CDCs Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has general vaccine info that addresses whether its okay to receive any vaccine when youre not feeling well.
The language is a little medical jargony, but it says that a lot boils down to how severe your symptoms are and what kind of illness you have. The safety and efficacy of vaccinating persons who have mild illnesses have been documented, the ACIP says, adding that, vaccination should be deferred for persons with a moderate or severe acute illness.
In general, if you have a little cold or the sniffles, its okay to proceed with a flu shot.Timothy Murphy, MD
Here’s how you can break that all down: In general, if you have a little cold or the sniffles, its okay to proceed with a flu shot, says Timothy Murphy, MD, senior associate dean for clinical and translational research at the University at Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. To a certain extent, its a judgment call, depending on how bad youre feeling.
What Is The Cell
The production of influenza vaccines traditionally involves hens eggs. However, there is a different method for cell-based influenza vaccines such as Flucelvax Quad, the only cell-based flu vaccine approved for use in Australia. Its approved for use in people aged 9 years and older but has not been added to the National Immunisation Program schedule.
Studies show that cell-based vaccines have a similar efficacy and safety profile to standard flu vaccines. Normally, neither type is recommended over the other.
However, standard flu vaccines are preferred for use in pregnancy because a large body of evidence supports their safety for pregnant women. The safety of cell-based flu vaccines during pregnancy hasnt been assessed.
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Sometimes I Get The Flu Despite Having Had The Flu Shot Why Should I Bother
Flu vaccination prevents illness in up to 6 in 10 healthy adults under the age of 65. Because the vaccine is not effective in absolutely every case, some people may still catch the virus after having the flu shot. But the risk of illness is still reduced.
Although most people who get the flu recover without lasting effects, the flu can be very serious in some people and may require hospitalisation. In some cases, it can even be fatal. Its not possible to predict who will be severely affected.
Vaccination against the flu both reduces your chances of getting it and the severity of the symptoms if you do. So its still important to have the shot.
Allergic Reactions To The Flu Vaccine
It’s very rare for anyone to have a serious allergic reaction to the flu vaccine. If this does happen, it usually happens within minutes.
The person who vaccinates you will be trained to deal with allergic reactions and treat them immediately.
Anyone can report a suspected side effect of a vaccine through the Yellow Card Scheme.
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What Is An Enhanced Influenza Vaccine
An enhanced flu vaccine is one that contains an adjuvant, an ingredient designed to increase the immune-system response to the vaccine. People aged 65 and older are often given an enhanced influenza vaccine because since the immune system weakens with age they dont respond as well to the flu vaccine as healthy, younger adults.
Fluad Quad is an enhanced flu vaccine recommended for people aged 65 and over in Australia.
Flu And Pneumonia Shots
Having the flu can be dangerous for anyone. But it is extra risky for people with diabetes or other chronic health problems. Having diabetes means having more instances of high blood sugar than a person without diabetes. High blood sugar hinders your white blood cells ability to fight infections.
Beyond people living with diabetes, flu is also extra risky for people with heart disease, smokers and those with chronic lung disease, people who have an impaired immune system , very young children, and people living in very close quarters, such as college dorms, military barracks, or nursing homes.
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Getting The Actual Flu Will Make Me Immune
Some people might think that if a housemate is sick, they’ll probably catch it anyway, and the virus will do a better job at making them immune for the next time the flu comes around.
The CDC reports that this is a bad decision — getting the flu comes with the risks of dehydration, hospitalization and other health complications, even if you’re a relatively healthy person before getting sick. It’s far better to get the vaccine in advance than to wait for what you may think is inevitable.
You won’t have to buy any of this stuff if you don’t get the flu .
What If I Have An Egg Allergy
Most flu shots and the nasal spray flu vaccine are made using egg-based technology, and may contain a small amount of egg proteins. However, studies show that severe allergic reactions to the flu shot and nasal spray vaccine are unlikely in people with egg allergies. People who have experienced only hives after exposure to eggs can receive any influenza vaccine. If eggs have given you serious allergic reactions, meaning any symptom other than hives, you can still receive any of the available influenza vaccines but you should receive it in a health care provider’s office, hospital, clinic, or health department under the supervision of a health care provider who can recognize and manage severe allergic reactions. Your provider may recommend that you receive the egg-free influenza vaccine.
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What Protection Does A Flu Vaccine Provide If I Do Get Sick With Flu
Some people who get vaccinated may still get sick. However, flu vaccination has been shown in some studies to reduce severity of illness in people who get vaccinated but still get sick. A 2017 study showed that flu vaccination reduced deaths, intensive care unit admissions, ICU length of stay, and overall duration of hospitalization among hospitalized adults with flu. Another study in 2018 showed that a vaccinated adult who was hospitalized with flu was 59 percent less likely to be admitted to the ICU than someone who had not been vaccinated. Among adults in the ICU with flu, vaccinated patients on average spent 4 fewer days in the hospital than those who were not vaccinated.
The Flu Shot Will Make Me More Susceptible To Other Respiratory Diseases
One study from 2012 suggested that people who receive the influenza vaccination are at a greater risk for other diseases with symptoms like a runny nose and a sore throat. A lot of people heard about the preliminary finding, and word spread like wildfire that the connection was definitely true. Researchers were then prompted to delve deeper into the association, and numerous studies have since disproved the link.
The CDC states that medical professionals are unclear why the 2012 study suggested those results, but that it’s not something to be concerned about whatsoever, and that it shouldn’t deter you from getting your flu shot.
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Why Do I Need A Flu Vaccine Every Year
A flu vaccine is needed every season for two reasons. First, a persons immune protection from vaccination declines over time, so an annual vaccine is needed for optimal protection. Second, because flu viruses are constantly changing, flu vaccines may be updated from one season to the next to protect against the viruses that research suggests may be most common during the upcoming flu season. For the best protection, everyone 6 months and older should get vaccinated annually.
Where Can I Get A Flu Shot
There are more places than ever to get your flu vaccination. Doctorsâ offices, clinics, and health departments offer the flu shot but you may need to make an appointment in advance. Pharmacies have become an easy and convenient option to get your flu shot. At Walgreens, we offer flu shots whenever a pharmacist is on duty. Walk-ins are welcome, but if you’d prefer, you can make an appointment online. Find a location near you to ask about vaccine availability or schedule an appointment online.
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Considerations For Getting A Covid
Its safe for your health care provider to administer a COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as other vaccines. If youre 12 years of age or older, you may get the flu shot at the same time as a COVID-19 vaccine. You may also get it any time before or after you receive the flu shot.
For children aged 5 to 11, the National Advisory Council on Immunization recommends a 14-day interval between a COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines. This is to help better monitor for possible side effects from COVID-19 vaccines. Provinces and territories will decide on an interval for this age group as part of their vaccination programs.
Talk to a health care provider or consult your provincial or territorial public health authority for the latest guidance.
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What Do Eggs Have To Do With It
The questionnaire will also ask if you are allergic to eggs, among other things. That is because the flu vaccine may contain residual egg protein because it is grown in eggs.
In fact, all influenza vaccines available in Australia are prepared from purified inactivated influenza virus that has been cultivated in embryonated hens’ eggs.
The vaccine is grown in eggs because a virus cannot reproduce on its own, it has to infect a cell and take over that cell, and tell the generic material in that cell to make new viruses.
Emeritus Professor and Burnet Institute Visiting Fellow Greg Tannock, who sits on the Australian Influenza Vaccine Committee , said “about 90 per cent of influenza vaccines use, as starting materials, influenza viruses grown in the allantoic sac of 10 to 11-day-old fertile eggs.”
Other vaccines grown in eggs are:
- Pandemic inactivated influenza vaccine
- Yellow Fever vaccine
While it is relatively common in infants 8.9 per cent having a proven allergy to raw egg most kids outgrow it by the time they reach primary school, although it can sometimes persist into adult life.
Over the past few decades, the amount of egg protein used in the vaccine has been greatly reduced to less than just 1 microgram per dose.
Severe allergic responses are also very rare.
“They certainly do not constitute a reason for abandoning vaccination, because of the major public health consequences of influenza epidemics.
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