Where To Get The Flu Vaccine
You can have the NHS flu vaccine at:
- your GP surgery
- a pharmacy offering the service
- your midwifery service if you’re pregnant
- a hospital appointment
If you do not have your flu vaccine at your GP surgery, you do not have to tell the surgery. This will be done for you.
It’s important to go to your vaccination appointments unless you have symptoms of COVID-19.
Adverse Events After Adjuvanted Influenza Vaccine
Clinical trials show a higher rate of injection site reactions in adults aged 65 years after receiving the adjuvanted influenza vaccine, compared with standard influenza vaccines.
Around 30% of people who received Fluad reported injection site reactions, compared with around 20% of people who received standard influenza vaccine. Both groups reported similar rates of systemic reactions.76 Overall, a similar proportion of people vaccinated with Fluad Quad experience injection site and systemic reactions as those vaccinated with Fluad.77
Rates of severe or serious adverse events do not increase after receiving the adjuvanted vaccine. This has been shown in clinical trials and post-licensure surveillance studies.76-79
Adjuvanted influenza vaccine is only registered for use in people aged 65 years. This vaccine is not recommended in younger people. However, clinical trials in some younger populations and post-licensure safety data after an adjuvanted vaccine was inadvertently given to younger people suggest a similar safety profile to that seen in people aged 65 years.80-82
Flu Vaccine And Allergic Reactions
If you had an anaphylactic reaction to a previous flu vaccine, you may not be able to get the flu vaccine. The healthcare worker giving the flu vaccines will be able to tell you if this is the case.
If you have any other allergies, for example, egg or latex there may be only certain types of flu vaccines that you can get and you should discuss any allergies that you have with your GP or nurse administering the flu vaccine.
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What Is The Difference Between Fluzone High
Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent contains four times the antigen, the part of the vaccine that helps your body build up protection against flu viruses, than Fluzone Quadrivalent and other standard-dose inactivated flu vaccines. The higher dose of antigen in the vaccine is intended to give people 65 years and older a better immune response to vaccination, and therefore, better protection against flu. Both Fluzone High-Dose and Fluzone Quadrivalent are produced by the same manufacturer and are quadrivalent vaccines. There are a number of other flu vaccines produced by other manufacturers.
People With Medical Conditions That Increase Their Risk Of Influenza
People aged 6 months with medical conditions specified in this List. Medical conditions associated with an increased risk of influenza disease and severe outcomes are strongly recommended to receive annual influenza vaccine.
People with these specific medical conditions have a higher risk of influenza or severe outcomes from influenza .9-29
People who have received a transplant
People who have had a haematopoietic stem cell transplant or solid organ transplant and are receiving influenza vaccine for the first time after transplant are recommended to receive:
- 2 doses at least 4 weeks apart the 1st time they receive influenza vaccine after the transplant
- 1 dose each year after that
Vaccine doses for people with the risk conditions in this list are funded under the NIP unless otherwise noted.
Functional or anatomical asplenia, including:
Cardiac disease, including:
Chronic neurological conditions, including:
|Long-term aspirin therapy in children aged 6 months to 10 years|
|Chronic liver diseasea|
|Children born less than 37 weeks gestationa|
|Harmful use of alcohola|
Pregnant women are strongly recommended to receive influenza vaccine in each pregnancy.
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Concerns Over Egg Allergies
For this current 202021 flu season, about 81 percent of the vaccine supply uses egg-based manufacturing technology. Because most flu vaccinations are made using chicken eggs, people who administer the inoculation ask individuals if they have egg allergies. But this may be a measure of excessive caution.
I think that there has been a lot of concern that people who had egg allergies shouldnt get flu vaccines, says Conway. But I think the egg allergy concern now has largely been dismissed.
He emphasizes that egg allergies are extraordinarily uncommon, and the amount of egg protein thats in a flu vaccine is miniscule. Conway says that some doctors rely on the muffin test to determine if a patient has an egg allergy that is so extreme that the vaccine will trigger a severe reaction.
If you can eat a muffin that has eggs as one of its ingredients without having a reaction, youre good to go, he says.
The CDC warns that those who have a history of severe allergic reaction to egg should get the immunization but do so in an inpatient or outpatient medical setting, just in case they have a life-threatening reaction.
Why Do We Need The Flu Vaccine Every Year
Flu vaccines have an excellent safety record. They are the best protection we have against an unpredictable virus which can cause severe illness and deaths each year among at-risk groups. It is important to have a flu vaccine every year because the flu virus is very variable and changes over time. Each year there are different strains around, and a new vaccine has to be prepared to deal with them. Vaccination from previous years is not likely to protect people against current strains of flu.
Each years flu vaccine is made to give the best protection against the strains of flu that are expected to circulate in the coming season. The trivalent vaccine protects against three of the flu virus strains which are most likely to be around. The quadrivalent vaccine protects against four flu virus strains. However, decisions about what to put in the flu vaccine have to be made six months before the flu season starts.
Every February in the Northern Hemisphere, the World Health Organization reviews the types of flu that have been circulating in all parts of the world and chooses the ones which will go into the vaccine for the following autumn. This allows time for the vaccine to be made but it also gives the flu virus time to change before vaccination starts in the autumn. This means that sometimes the flu vaccine may not be a good match for all the strains of flu that are circulating.
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Adverse Events After Cell
Cell-based influenza vaccines have a similar safety profile to standard influenza vaccines. In one study among children and adolescents aged 417 years, injection site reactions were reported in 53% of people receiving cell-based vaccine compared with 43% receiving standard influenza vaccine. Systemic reactions were reported by 37% and 30%, respectively.83 Both injection site and systemic reactions were typically mild to moderate < 1% were reported as severe.
In another study in adults aged 1860 years, injection site reactions were reported in 29% of people receiving cell-based vaccine compared with 25% receiving standard influenza vaccine. Systemic reactions were reported by 25% and 23%, respectively.84 Injection site reactions were typically mild to moderate < 1% were reported as severe. No severe systemic reactions were reported.
Iii1 People At High Risk Of Influenza
All pregnant women
NACI recommends the inclusion of all pregnant women, at any stage of pregnancy, among the particularly recommended recipients of IIV, due to the risk of influenza-associated morbidity in pregnant womenFootnote 25,Footnote 26,Footnote 27,Footnote 28,Footnote 29, evidence of adverse neonatal outcomes associated with maternal respiratory hospitalization or influenza during pregnancyFootnote 30,Footnote 31,Footnote 32,Footnote 33, evidence that vaccination of pregnant women protects their newborns from influenza and influenza-related hospitalizationFootnote 34,Footnote 35,Footnote 36,Footnote 37, and evidence that infants born during influenza season to vaccinated women are less likely to be premature, small for gestational age, and of low birth weight than if born to women that had not received an influenza vaccineFootnote 38,Footnote 39,Footnote 40,Footnote 41. The risk of influenza-related hospitalization increases with length of gestation .
Refer to the Statement on Seasonal Influenza Vaccine for 2011-2012 and the Statement on Seasonal Influenza Vaccine for 2012-2013 for further details on influenza vaccination during pregnancy.
Adults and children with chronic health conditions
Neurologic or neurodevelopment conditions
People of any age who are residents of nursing homes and other chronic care facilities
Adults 65 years of age and older
All children 6-59 months of age
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Which Flu Vaccine Is The Most Effective
When flu vaccines are being produced, the strains included are standardized by the FDA. Each 2021-2022 vaccine includes:
Two type B viruses
This means that no matter what vaccine you choose, youre being protected against the same strains. Flu vaccines are typically between 40% and 60% effective from year to year. But when it comes to picking the right flu vaccine for you, you have to take other factors into account.
Safety And Side Effects
The inactivated flu vaccine does not contain the live virus and cannot cause flu. Flu vaccines have a very good safety record. The most commonly reported side effects of flu vaccines are:
- pain, swelling, bruising, hardness or redness at the injection site
- slightly raised temperature
- feeling generally unwell
A higher rate of these common side effects has been reported with Fluad, an adjuvanted trivalent vaccine which was recommended for people aged 65 and over in previous years. This year, Fluad Tetra is being offered to people aged over 65, which also uses an adjuvant. Side effects usually last 1-2 days.
There are several different makes of flu vaccine available each year. For more information on side effects, ask for the Patient Information Leaflet for the vaccine you are offered. Additional information about vaccine side effects, anaphylaxis and adverse reactions can be found here.
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Influenza Vaccines Available In Australia
All the influenza vaccines available in Australia are either split virion or subunit vaccines. They are prepared from purified inactivated influenza virus that has been cultivated in embryonated hens eggs or propagated in Madin-Darby canine kidney cells .
All these vaccines are quadrivalent as they contain 4 influenza virus strains 2 influenza A subtypes and 2 influenza B lineages.
Standard influenza vaccines contain 15 µg of haemagglutinin per strain per dose with no adjuvant. Similarly, the available cell-based influenza vaccine contains 15 µg of haemagglutinin per strain per dose with no adjuvant.
The available adjuvanted influenza vaccine is egg-based, and contains the standard 15 µg of haemagglutinin per strain per dose, with MF59 as the adjuvant. The adjuvanted influenza vaccine is formulated to induce a greater immune response than standard influenza vaccines.
See also Vaccine information and Variations from product information for more details.
Always check annual seasonal influenza vaccine statements. Vaccines and age eligibility change from year to year.
Why Should Older Adults Get The Flu Shot
The flu shot is especially important for older adults because they tend to have weaker immune systems.
When the immune system isnt strong, it becomes harder for the body to fight off infections. Likewise, a weaker immune system can lead to flu-related complications.
Secondary infections that can develop with the flu include:
- ear infections
People ages 65 and older are at higher risk for serious complications. In fact, its estimated that as many as 85 percent of seasonal flu-related deaths occur in people ages 65 and older. Plus, up to 70 percent of seasonal flu-related hospitalizations occur in people ages 65 and older.
If you become ill after getting a vaccination, a flu shot may lessen the severity of symptoms of the illness.
Protecting yourself from the flu is increasingly important while COVID-19 is a factor.
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Who Should And Who Should Not Get A Flu Vaccine
Everyone 6 months of age and older should get an influenza vaccine every season with rare exception. CDCs Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has made this recommendation since the 2010-2011 flu season.
Vaccination to prevent flu and its potentially serious complications is particularly important for people who are at higher risk of developing serious flu complications. See People at Higher Risk of Developing Flu-Related Complications for a full list of age and health factors that confer increased risk.
More information is available at Who Needs a Flu Vaccine.
Different influenza vaccines are approved for use in people in different age groups. In addition, some vaccines are not recommended for certain groups of people. Factors that can determine a persons suitability for vaccination, or vaccination with a particular vaccine, include a persons age, health and any allergies to flu vaccine or its components. For more information, visit Who Should and Who Should NOT get a Flu Vaccine.
Are Flu Vaccines Effective
Yes. The effectiveness of flu vaccines varies with each season due to the ever-changing nature of the virus. However, receiving a flu vaccine significantly reduces your chance of becoming sick from the flu and spreading the virus to others it also lessens the severity of the virus if you do become sick.
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Fever And Febrile Convulsions In Children Aged < 5 Years
In 2010, higher rates of fever and convulsions were reported in children aged < 5 years after influenza vaccination, especially in children aged < 3 years.
Only the Seqirus vaccines Fluvax and Fluvax Junior were associated with this side effect. After vaccination with Fluvax or Fluvax Junior, children < 5 years of age had convulsions at a rate of 4.4 per 1000 doses, compared with no such events reported among children who received an alternative vaccine in the same year.85
The Fluvax and Fluvax Junior vaccines are no longer available in Australia and available Seqirus vaccines have been reformulated.
Can Severe Problems Occur
Life-threatening allergic reactions to flu shots are very rare. Signs of serious allergic reaction can include breathing problems, hoarseness or wheezing, hives, paleness, weakness, a fast heartbeat, or dizziness. If they do occur, it is usually within a few minutes to a few hours after receiving the shot. These reactions can occur among persons who are allergic to something that is in the vaccine, such as egg protein or other ingredients. While severe reactions are uncommon, you should let your doctor, nurse, clinic, or pharmacist know if you have a history of allergy or severe reaction to influenza vaccine or any part of flu vaccine.
There is a small possibility that flu vaccine could be associated with Guillain-Barré syndrome, generally no more than 1 or 2 cases per million people vaccinated. This is much lower than the risk of severe complications from flu, which can be prevented by flu vaccine.
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The Nasal Spray Option
People who absolutely cant stand needles may be able to seek out a flu vaccine that can be administered via a nasal spray, notes the CDC. Sold under the brand name FluMist, this form is approved for healthy nonpregnant individuals, 2 through 49 years old.
The nasal vaccine is actually a little bit different from all the other vaccines in that other flu vaccines are inactivated they contain dead parts of the virus, whereas the intranasal one is a live attenuated vaccine, which means that it contains live virus that has kind of been weakened, so that the body can mount an immune response to that, says Philbrick.
She explains that the body simply will not mount an immune response to an inactivated vaccine that is administered intranasally.
Conway points out that the nasal vaccine was restricted for use in those under age 2 because they experienced some side effects such as wheezing.
As far as the restriction for those 50 and older, a spokesperson for FluMists manufacturer, AstraZeneca, says that Based on the clinical studies conducted and submitted for FDA review and approval, the effectiveness of FluMist Quadrivalent has not been established in people aged 50 and older.
Philbrick recommends the traditional flu shot as the method of choice, but if you absolutely cant do needles and otherwise would not get the flu vaccine, the nasal spray would be an appropriate alternative.
What Is Type A Flu Virus
Type A flu or influenza A viruses are capable of infecting animals, although it is more common for people to suffer the ailments associated with this type of flu. Wild birds commonly act as the hosts for this flu virus.
Type A flu virus is constantly changing and is generally responsible for the large flu epidemics. The influenza A2 virus is spread by people who are already infected. The most common flu hot spots are those surfaces that an infected person has touched and rooms where they have been recently, especially areas where they have been sneezing.
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People Who Should Get The Vaccine
Some people are at greater risk from the effects of flu and should get the vaccine when offered it. Theres an increased risk if you:
- are pregnant
- are aged 50 or over, even if you feel fit and healthy
- live in a residential or nursing home
- have an illness or underlying health condition
The annual flu vaccination programme also includes:
- pre-school children aged two years and over
- children at primary school and secondary school
- carers if you care for another person, you should ask your GP if you should be vaccinated so you can continue caring for them
- health and social care workers
- staff in independent care homes, hospices and domiciliary care providers
- close contacts of immunocompromised individuals