What This Means For You
It’s important for you to get your flu shot as soon as possible to stay protected this season. You can use the CDC’s flu shot finder to locate the most convenient spot for you. Make sure to call or check online to learn more about the venue’s COVID-19 safety precautions, and try to make an appointment ahead of time.
How Effective Is The Flu Shot
The vaccine formulation changes every year to try to “match” the influenza viruses that are spreading in our communities. The vaccine is more effective when it has a good match. Even if a flu vaccine was not well-matched, it is still beneficial to get vaccinated. If you do get the flu after vaccination, influenza illness may be less severe than if you had not been vaccinated. Getting vaccinated also helps to protect your community by promoting herd immunity.
How well the vaccine works varies from year to year. Overall, receiving the flu vaccine usually reduces the risk of getting the flu by between 40% and 60% among most people when the vaccine is well-matched with the isolated virus. Some people respond better than others to the flu vaccine and build stronger immunity. People that are older than 65 years typically build weaker immune responses to the influenza vaccine which is why there are special flu vaccines made especially for seniors.
Talking To Your Doctor
Its always a good idea to talk with your doctor, especially if you havent gotten the flu vaccine before or if your health has changed. If you have an allergy or other condition that might make the vaccine risky for you, check with your doctor before getting vaccinated.
Here are a few questions to ask your doctor:
- Is there any reason why I shouldnt get the flu vaccine?
- What side effects might it cause?
- What should I do if I have side effects?
- Should I get the flu shot or nasal mist?
The flu vaccine is considered safe. You cant catch the flu from the vaccine, because the virus in the vaccine has been killed or weakened.
The live vaccine isnt recommended for people with weaker immune systems.
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What Are The Side Effects Of Vaccines
Most side effects from vaccines are minor, if they occur at all. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about the reactions that could occur. They may include:
- Redness, mild swelling, or soreness where the shot was given.
- A slight fever.
- Drowsiness, crankiness, and poor appetite.
- A mild rash 7 to 14 days after chickenpox or measles-mumps-rubella shots.
- Temporary joint pain after a measles-mumps-rubella shot.
Serious reactions, such as trouble breathing or a high fever are rare. If you or your child has an unusual reaction, call your doctor.
Who Should Avoid The Flu Vaccine
The flu vaccine is very effective, but it isnt right for everyone.
Dont get the vaccine if youve had a severe allergic reaction to any ingredient it contains, including egg protein.
You also should avoid the flu vaccine if youve had Guillain-Barré syndrome. In 1976, a swine flu vaccine was linked to an increased risk for Guillain-Barré, which causes the immune system to attack and damage the protective coating around nerve cells.
Guillain-Barré syndrome causes extreme weakness and tingling in the limbs, known as severe peripheral neuropathy. It can be life-threatening in rare cases.
Theres no clear link between the current flu vaccine and Guillain-Barré. If any risk exists, its very small, affecting about 1 out of every 1 million people vaccinated.
The vaccine also isnt recommended for babies under 6 months old because it hasnt been proven safe in infants.
Talk to your doctor if you have a weakened immune system, or if you take medicine to suppress your immune system. You may not respond as well to the vaccine.
If youre sick, you might want to put off the flu shot until you feel better.
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Are There Delays In The Distribution Of Influenza Vaccine
Currently, influenza vaccine manufacturers are not reporting any expected delays in national flu vaccine supply or distribution this season.
Influenza vaccine production and distribution in the U.S. are primarily private sector endeavors. CDC encourages manufacturers and distributors to use a distribution strategy in which providers receive smaller shipments to allow as many providers as possible to begin vaccination activities early in the vaccination season. Ideally, the intervals between shipments are short so that each provider has a continuous supply and can continue vaccinating patients without interruption. While no important delays have been reported, in some places, robust demand for vaccine and supplies required to support flu vaccination efforts, like needles or syringes, may mean that some providers run out of vaccine or other supplies before their next shipment has arrived. An allocation system can initially limit the size of individual orders. However, as supplies become available in increasing numbers, supply is expected to catch up with demand. Additionally, because vaccine manufacturing has been extended to support the production of a record number of flu vaccine doses this year, providers are likely to receive more shipments throughout the season.
To make sure your provider has flu vaccine available, call ahead to confirm availability. There also may be other locations in your area that have vaccine available.
If You Live In These States You Can Now Get Vaccinated At Cvs
Select locations in 11 states are now administering the COVID vaccine.
As the COVID vaccine rollout continues, state and federal officials have been trying to make the shot more accessible, and one of the key ways to do that is to make it available at the places people are used to getting vaccinated: local pharmacies. As one of the largest pharmacy chains in the U.S., CVS joined the ranks this week with select pharmacies across 11 states administering the COVID vaccine to those who are eligible. To find out if your state’s CVS locations will have the vaccine, read on, and for more places you may be able to get your shot, check out If You Live in These States, You Can Now Get Vaccinated at Walgreens.
You’re likely start to see more COVID vaccination sites popping up in your area thanks to the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, a collaboration between the federal government, states, and 21 national pharmacy partners and independent pharmacy networks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . CVS partnered with the program to get approximately 250,000 vaccine doses from the government. The company plans to expand to additional states and stores as more vaccines are produced, aiming to administer 20 to 25 million shots per month.
In a statement, President and Chief Executive Officer of CVS Health Karen S. Lynch said: “Our presence in communities across the country makes us an ideal partner for administering vaccines in a safe, convenient, and familiar manner.”
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Flu Shot Price Notes:
- The standard quadrivalent flu shot is designed to protect against four different flu strain viruses two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses and is now the standard offered everywhere.
- The trivalent flu shot option is not being carried yet by any retailer this year.
- The FLUAD quadrivalent flu shot is recommended for those age 65 and over, as it includes an adjuvant designed to strengthen, broaden, and lengthen the duration of the flu vaccine response.
- Even though I have listed the 65+ FLUAD quadrivalent prices here, everyone in this age group is eligible for free flu shots if they are enrolled in Medicare, Part B.
- In prior years, the CDC found that the FluMist quadrivalent nasal mist spray option was not as effective compared to the flu shot and it was pulled from the market. However, it is being offered at a few retailers and public health departments, with the disclaimer that certain populations should not use it.
If none of these retailers have locations by you, check out the CDCs vaccines.gov flu shot vaccine locator website, which will provide a map of providers near you that offer flu shots.
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What Vaccines Are Recommended For Adults
The vaccines you need as an adult depend not only on your age, lifestyle, overall health, pregnancy status, and travel plans but also on who you are in close contact with and what vaccines you had as a child.
Talk to your doctor about which vaccines you need. Common adult vaccines include:
In some states, pharmacists can give some of these shots.
The Vaccines Provided At Ucla Health Include
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Why Are Preservatives Sometimes Used In Vaccines
Preservatives are used to protect vaccines packaged in multi-dose vials. Each time a vaccine dose is drawn from a multi-dose vial, bacteria or fungi can enter the vial. Receiving a vaccine contaminated with bacteria or fungi can be dangerous. Preservatives are needed to prevent contamination of multi-dose vials each time individual doses are drawn.
Thimerosal use in vaccines and other medical products has a record of being very safe. Data from many studies show no evidence of harm caused by the low doses of thimerosal in vaccines.
What Do Seniors Need To Know About The Flu Vaccine
Compared to younger adults, people who are 65 years and older have a greater risk of developing serious complications from the flu. It has been estimated that in recent years seniors have accounted for 50-70% of seasonal flu-related hospitalizations and 70-85% of seasonal flu-related deaths. In addition, seniors typically develop weaker immune responses to the flu vaccine. That’s why there are special flu vaccines specifically designed for seniors: the high-dose flu vaccine and the adjuvanted flu vaccine.
Compared to a regular flu shot, the high-dose vaccine has four times the amount of antigen, which is part of the vaccine that triggers the immune response. The adjuvanted flu vaccine contains an extra substance called an adjuvant that helps the vaccine work better by giving you a stronger immune response. Both the high-dose vaccine and the adjuvanted flu vaccine have demonstrated stronger immune responses in persons 65 years and older as compared to those who received the standard flu shot. Note that older adults can get any flu vaccine approved for use in their age group, including standard-dose flu vaccine.
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Delivery Of The Flu Shot In 2021
Not all flu shots are the same. Some arent even shots. Here are your 2021 flu vaccine options:
Nasal Spray: The nasal spray vaccine is the only kind to include a live attenuated influenza vaccine. Although it cant give you the flu, it does have a higher likelihood of inducing flu-like symptoms. This vaccine does not contain thimerosal or other preservatives. Its available only for patients aged 2 to 49.
For: People who cant stand the needle or jet spray or who want to avoid preservatives.
Inactivated shots are usually given with a needle, but Afluria Quadrivalent can be given to adults with a jet injector, which is basically a high-powered spray that penetrates the skin.
For: Needles can be used for everyone aged 6 months and older. The jet spray is approved for adults aged 18 to 64.
Safety And Possible Side Effects
The CDC, U.S. Food and Drug Administration , National Institutes of Health , American Academy of Pediatrics , Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices , and National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine have all declared that the use of thimerosal in vaccines is safe and effective.
The safety profile of traditional and preservative-free flu shots are considered equal. Possible side effects of both thimerosal-containing vaccines and preservative-free vaccines include:
- Pain and swelling at the injection site
- Low-grade fever
Side effects are typically mild and resolve within a day or two.
However, if you develop wheezing, difficulty breathing, vomiting, rapid heartbeat, loss of consciousness, or swollen lips, tongue, or throat, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room. These could be the signs of a rare and potentially life-threatening allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis.
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Is There Mercury In The Flu Shot
Vials of vaccine that contain more than one dose contain thimerosal, which is a mercury-based preservative. These multi-dose vials have a preservative because every time a needle enters the vial there is a risk of introducing bacteria or fungi, which could be dangerous. Thimerosal protects the vaccines from contamination. Our bodies remove thimerosal quickly and easily, so it does not stay or build up in our system. Flu vaccines available as single-dose, pre-filled syringes and nasal spray formulations of the flu vaccine do not contain thimerosal.
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.
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Side Effects Not Requiring Immediate Medical Attention
Some side effects of influenza virus vaccine, inactivated may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects.
Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- pain at the injection site
Applies to influenza virus vaccine, inactivated: intradermal suspension, intramuscular solution, intramuscular suspension, nasal spray
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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What Are Immunizations
Immunizations save lives. They are the best way to help protect you or your child from certain infectious diseases. They also help reduce the spread of disease to others and prevent epidemics. Most are given as shots. They are sometimes called vaccines, or vaccinations.
In many cases when you get a vaccine, you get a tiny amount of a weakened or dead form of the organism that causes the disease. This amount is not enough to give you the actual disease. But it is enough to cause your to make that can recognize and attack the organism if you are ever exposed to it.
Sometimes a vaccine does not completely prevent the disease, but it will make the disease much less serious if you do get it.
Some immunizations are needed only one time. Others require several doses over time to help your body be able to fight the disease .
What Is The Flu
Influenza is a respiratory illness, which means that it affects your airways. It is spread easily from person to person through coughing, sneezing, and even talking. When you get the influenza virus it sometimes takes one to four days before you start noticing symptoms. This means that you could spread the flu to those around you before you even know that you’re sick. Adults may be able to spread the flu for up to seven days after first becoming sick, and children may continue to spread the flu for even longer.
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