Will I Always Need To Get The Flu Shot Every Year
We hope not. Research is ongoing to create a universal flu shot. This universal flu vaccine would, in theory, help your body create antibodies against the part of the flu virus that does not change every year. Right now, yearly vaccines target those proteins on the surface of the flu vaccine that mutate throughout the flu season. In theory, this new universal vaccine would protect you against current strains of the flu virus as well as future mutations of the flu virus.
Who Needs An Annual Flu Shot
Short answer: You do. The CDC says everyone 6 months of age and older needs an annual flu shot, and young children might need two doses. Typically, immunity kicks in about two weeks after your vaccination, and even if you come in contact with a different strain of the flu, your vaccine may still provide some important protection.
At Healthy Life Family Medicine, we offer the most up-to-date flu shots,a s well as other vaccines you might need to stay healthy. If youd like to learn more about this years flu shot, or if youd like to schedule a vaccine to help keep the flu at bay, call our office at 623-232-9194 and schedule a visit today.
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Myth #: Getting A Flu Shot Will Give You The Flu
Lets get it straight: The flu shot will not give you the flu. It contains a deactivated form of the virus, which teaches your body to recognize a real flu virus and respond. Your body should develop the necessary antibodies to the flu within about two weeks of receiving a shot. You might feel tired and achy after getting it, but thats not an infection, says Sanicas. Its your normal immune response to the vaccine.
While some of the other vaccines you get do contain a weakened, live version of the virus theyre protecting you against such as measles or chickenpox the flu shot does not have a live virus. Which points to another reason why you need to get a flu shot every year. While just one or two doses of a live vaccine is enough to provide immunity to, say, chickenpox for your entire life, an inactive vaccine like the flu needs to be topped up regularly to maintain your immunity.
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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.
Why We Need New Flu Vaccines Every Year
There are several reasons a new flu vaccine must be made each year.
Flu viruses can change from year to year, so the vaccine is updated to protect against new virus strains that are expected to circulate in the U.S. The vaccine needs to include influenza virus strains that most closely match those in circulation for the influenza season. In addition, the protection provided by the flu vaccine a person received in the previous year will diminish over time and may be too low to prevent influenza disease into next years flu season.
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How Do Flu Vaccines Work
Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection with circulating influenza viruses.
Seasonal flu vaccines are designed to protect against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. All flu vaccines in the United States are quadrivalent vaccines, which means they protect against four different flu viruses: an influenza A virus, an influenza A virus, and two influenza B viruses.
How Long Does Covid
Right now, vaccines appear to trigger an immune response that lasts longer than natural infection, according to Andrew Pavia, MD, an infectious disease specialist at University of Utah Health, in an interview with Rochester First. That means vaccine-conferred immunity “may last longer than a year,” he said, “but it’s unlikely to be permanent the way two doses of measles vaccine is.” Dr. Pavia said it’s likely that “at some point” we’ll need to receive another COVID-19 vaccine we don’t know exactly when or how often. There’s just not enough data yet to know exactly how long immunity lasts.
However, scientists are already working to answer that question. According to The New York Times, researchers will likely track vaccinated people to see who comes down with COVID-19 even after receiving a vaccination. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are over 94 percent effective at preventing COVID-19 and Johnson & Johnson is 66 percent effective, meaning that some “breakthrough cases” are possible no matter which vaccine you receive. If vaccinated people start getting sick, that’s a sign that protection is getting weaker, which tells scientists about how long the vaccine remains effective. Scientists will also monitor levels of antibodies and T-cells in the blood of vaccinated people to see if and when another shot is required.
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Why Do We Need A New Flu Vaccine Every Year
July 7, 2020 By Will Sowards
Millions of people get the flu shot every year.
One of the most frequently asked questions is, Why do I need to have the flu shot each year? Theres also the question of, Why isnt it available in a few doses like other vaccines?
Lets take a closer look at available scientific research to address these questions.
The influenza virus is easily transmitted between people, and creates the possibility of a much worse disease to develop. The flu shot is a vital weapon to protect the population from this highly contagious virus.
The vaccine is important, but why is there a new one every year?
With each new year, scientists determine the many strains of the flu virus. New strains may arise in each year or change because of various mutations and other characteristics. With the different strains, previous serums are ineffective or possibly useless. An old vaccine may no longer target the worst and most common mutations of the flu.
The serum is available in three strains, the trivalent vaccine, or four strains, the quadrivalent vaccine. Protecting against more strains, the quadrivalent vaccine is now the favorite flu shot.
How does the WHO decide which strains should replace another in the vaccine?
The flu shot acts in a similar manner.
The ever-changing influenza virus doesnt allow for that luxury, making a different vaccine necessary every year.
Any other questions about the annual flu shot? Let us know in the comments, or via and .
Benefits Of The Flu Shot
Numerous studies have shown that getting an annual flu vaccine creates far-reaching protection for individuals and communities as a whole.
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Why Do Healthy People Need To Get Vaccinated
Healthy people should get vaccinated against the flu vaccine every year because anyone can get seriously ill from the flu virus. Some groups have a higher risk than others. But the flu vaccine helps prevent serious illness and death from the flu in all people who get vaccinated and in people who are unable to get vaccinated. The more people who get the flu vaccine, the more everyone in our community is protected.
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.
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How The Influenza Virus Mutates
The flu viruss genetic material, called RNA, is similar to DNA but with one crucial difference. RNA viruses dont have proofreading capacity, Dr. Karron said.
If for some reason the machinery that puts in the building blocks is wrong in DNA and it doesnt match, it has to be fixed, Dr. Karron said. But RNA has only one strand.
In RNA, if theres a mistake, it doesnt have to be corrected to survive, Dr. Karron said. The viruses play this roulette. Its not that they know which changes will outwit the human immune system, but theyre replicating very rapidly.
So rapidly that lots of mistakes mutations occur. Hijacked cells release new viruses after just six hours.
If theres a change in one of those viruses that the human immune system doesnt recognize so well, that gives that virus an advantage, Dr. Karron said. Those changes often happen in two proteins, called hemagglutinin and neuraminidase , the H and the N in flu names like H1N1. These proteins are also the parts of the flu virus that the immune system recognizes the trench coats so viruses with a slightly different HA or NA can escape the immune systems attention.
Its evolution at work: Tiny mutations help the virus evade detection, and as it evades detection, its more successful at multiplying.
The Importance Of Social Distancing
Two reasons that last flu season was such a quiet one: social distancing and improved hygiene, says Dr. Rehm. Last year, the use of face masks, social distancing and paying more attention to hand-washing all impacted the lower rates of flu and other respiratory viruses, she says.
All of these things are still part of our strategy going forward, not just to prevent COVID-19 and the flu, but other viruses, too, she adds. Having robust vaccines adds to these levels of protection.
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What Are The Side Effects Of Flu Vaccines
The flu vaccine is safe and cannot give you the flu. Most people have no problem with a flu vaccine.
The most common side effects are soreness, redness, or swelling where you were vaccinated. Some people also get a headache, fever, nausea, or muscle aches. These side effects may start shortly after getting the vaccine and can last up to two days. They typically do not get in the way of daily activities.
Even people with mild egg allergies can safely get most flu vaccines. Egg-free flu vaccines are also available. You should not get vaccinated if you have had a severe allergic reaction to the flu vaccine in the past. Talk with your health care provider about your options for flu vaccines and side effects.
Will There Be Flu Along With Covid
While its not possible to say with certainty what will happen in the fall and winter, CDC believes its likely that flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will both be spreading. In this context, getting a flu vaccine will be more important than ever. CDC recommends that all people 6 months and older get a yearly flu vaccine.
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Getting A Flu Shot Every Year More May Not Be Better
If youve been diligent about getting your flu shot every year, you may not want to read this. But a growing body of evidence indicates that more may not always be better.
The evidence, which is confounding some researchers, suggests that getting flu shots repeatedly can gradually reduce the effectiveness of the vaccines under some circumstances.
That finding is worrying public health officials in the US, who have been urging everyone to get a flu shot each year and who still believe an annual vaccination is better than skipping the vaccines altogether.
Dr. Edward Belongia is among the scientists who have seen the picture coming into focus. He and some colleagues at Wisconsins reported recently that children who had been vaccinated annually over a number of years were more likely to contract the flu than kids who were only vaccinated in the season in which they were studied.
The vaccine was significantly more effective if they had not been vaccinated in the previous five years, Belongia, an epidemiologist, recounted in a recent interview with STAT.
Vaccines work by exposing the immune system to a part of a disease agent in the case of influenza, to two proteins on the exterior of the viruses that has been rendered harmless. The vaccines tell the immune system to be ready to mount an offensive if it encounters the specified invaders.
The immune system then produces stores of protective ammunition antibodies it can use to fight off infection.
Why Getting The Flu Vaccine Is So Important
First of all, you should get a flu shot every year. Its just good practice, as Dr. Rehm explains. Influenza is a very serious disease and during a normal flu season, around 40,000 or more people die from it. So with any preventable disease, we should do everything we can to protect ourselves.
But its especially important this year, she continues. Were going to have influenza and COVID-19 coexisting and theres a lot of overlap between the symptoms. We also anticipate that there will be some people who have COVID-19 and influenza at the same time, which could be difficult.
Part of what would make such a scenario so calamitous, Dr. Rehm says, is that our national healthcare system could be inundated in some regions. Weve seen problems in various places because of the delta variant surge and if we add influenza on top that, it could overwhelm our capacity.
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We May Have To Get The Covid
Getting the flu shot has become an annual tradition for many of us, providing yearly protection from a virus that has killed an estimated 12,000 to 61,000 Americans every year since 2010, according to the CDC. Yearly shots are the norm for the flu, but for other dangerous diseases, such as measles, just one or two shots can provide lifelong protection. The big question in 2021: where does the COVID-19 vaccine fall? Will one or two doses be enough to last for a lifetime, or at least several years? Or will COVID-19 become the “new flu shot,” requiring a dose every year?
Health2020 Flu Particularly Bad For Young People
This year’s vaccine appears to be a good match for one of the strains currently circulating, called influenza A H1N1, said Dr. William Schaffner, a professor at Vanderbilt University and the medical director of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases.
But it’s not as good a match for another strain this year, the B/Victoria strain, which has been responsible for a high percentage of the illnesses so far this season, Schaffner said.
While there’s never a guarantee the vaccine will prevent all flu cases, doctors say it can ease the severity of the flu if you do get sick, and help prevent complications, including pneumonia and having to be hospitalized.
And a 2018 study found people who got the vaccine each flu season were less likely to die or end up in the hospital with severe flu.
Infectious disease experts rarely if ever say it’s “too late” to get a flu shot. But even Schaffner told NBC News this time of year mid-January is cutting it close.
“It is late,” he said. “If you haven’t been vaccinated yet, get it this afternoon.”
There does appear to be a sweet spot when it comes to the best time of year that would likely offer the best protection: in the fall, preferably before Halloween. Indeed, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends the flu vaccine be administered before the end of October.
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