Last Years Flu Shot Wont Provide Adequate Protection From The Flu This Year
There are several reasons why you need to get a flu shot every year. First, your bodys immune response to the vaccine gradually declines, so an annual vaccine is needed to provide continuous protection. Second, flu viruses are constantly changing. Each year, the strains covered in the flu vaccine are reviewed and adjusted.
What Kinds Of Flu Vaccines Are Available
CDC recommends use of any licensed, age-appropriate influenza vaccine during the 2021-2022 influenza season. Available influenza vaccines include quadrivalent inactivated influenza vaccine , recombinant influenza vaccine , or live attenuated influenza vaccine . No preference is expressed for any influenza vaccine over another.
Quadrivalent flu vaccines include:
Are any of the available flu vaccines recommended over others?
For the 2021-2022 flu season, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends annual influenza vaccination for everyone 6 months and older with any licensed, influenza vaccine that is appropriate for the recipients age and health status, including inactivated influenza vaccine , recombinant influenza vaccine , or live attenuated nasal spray influenza vaccine with no preference expressed for any one vaccine over another.
There are many vaccine options to choose from, but the most important thing is for all people 6 months and older to get a flu vaccine every year. If you have questions about which vaccine is best for you, talk to your doctor or other health care professional.
Who Should Vaccinate?
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 influenza season.
More information is available at Who Needs a Flu Vaccine.
Who Should Not Be Vaccinated?
When should I get vaccinated?
The Flu Vaccine Helps Protect You And Your Family From The Flu
Millions of people get influenza every year. While it may be common, seasonal flu is a potentially serious disease. It can lead to hospitalization and even death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .1 Thats why its recommended to get a flu vaccine every year to help protect yourself and your family.2 The flu vaccine can help:
- Weaken or prevent the flu
- Reduce the risk of having to go to the doctor with flu by 40 percent to 60 percent during seasons when the flu vaccine viruses are similar to circulating flu viruses1
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For the study in Spain, the team checked on 728 people 65 and older who were in the hospital with flu. Of these patients, 83 died.
Patients who had not been vaccinated at all were more likely to need intensive care 16 percent of them did, compared to 6 percent of those who had been vaccinated. And 14 percent of those who died had not been vaccinated, compared to 6 percent who had been vaccinated.
The vaccine was 70 percent effective in preventing death.
Vaccination that occurred only in the current season did not show significant protection against severe influenza, the researchers noted. But repeated vaccination did.
Its possible that people who get vaccines every year are healthier and more careful in other ways, Topham said. For instance, one study showed people who get flu vaccines are also less likely to have car accidents, he said.
There is very little downside to getting your influenza vaccine, said Topham. I get my vaccine every year. Everyone in my family does.
Maggie Fox is a senior writer for NBC News and TODAY, covering health policy, science, medical treatments and disease.
Find A Flu Shot Location Near You
If you have a UnitedHealthcare health plan, you can get a flu shot at more than 50,000 locations.
Enter your ZIP code and select a pharmacy in your area, then select Find my flu shot to see results within a 20-mile radius from the center of your ZIP code.
Please note: If you’re using a screen reader, please select Participating pharmacies, then select a pharmacy to find a location near you.
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When To Get The Flu Shot
Flu season typically runs from late fall to early spring.
Flu shots are now available for all Ontarians. You should get a flu shot as soon as possible because it takes two weeks to take effect.
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization now recommends that COVID-19 vaccines may be given at the same time as the flu vaccine.
Talk to your doctor or pharmacy to learn more.
Does The Flu Vaccine Interfere With The Covid
No, says both Rivard and Dr. Rehm. In fact, if you havent received a COVID-19 vaccination yet or are receiving a third dose, you can receive it at the same time as your flu vaccine.
All available COVID-19 vaccines can be given at the same time as the flu vaccine, says Rivard. If someone is coming in for their flu shot and theyre eligible for COVID-19 vaccine but havent received it yet, we can offer that.
If youre receiving one of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines , which require two doses, you can receive the flu vaccine alongside either the first or second dose. Both the CDC and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommend co-administering almost any two vaccines together, Rivard adds.
She adds that there are very few instances in which certain vaccines cant be administered at the same time, noting that children often receive multiple vaccines during one visit to a pediatrician.
And theres no concern about overloading our immune systems with multiple vaccines, notes Dr. Rehm. Were exposed to things that stimulate our immune system all the time, she says. Our immune system is constantly responding to various exposures even if you dont realize it.
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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.
What Can You Do If You Get The Flu
If you get the flu, there are steps you can take to feel better. Act fast! First, talk with your health care provider. The flu and COVID-19 have similar symptoms, so you may need to get tested for an accurate diagnosis. This will also help determine which medications might make you feel better.
There are prescription drugs, called antivirals, that are used to treat people with the flu. If you take them within 48 hours after the flu begins, these drugs can make you feel better more quickly. Antivirals can also help reduce your risk of complications from flu. Antibiotics do not help you recover from the flu. Still, they are sometimes prescribed to help you recover from a secondary infection if it is caused by bacteria. Bacteria are a different type of germ than viruses.
If you are sick, rest and drink plenty of fluids like juice and water, but not alcohol. Medicine, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, can bring down your fever and might help with the aches and pains. It is important not to smoke if you are sick with the flu. It is a respiratory illness that can infect your lungs as well as your nasal passages. These same areas are also affected by smoking. Take it easy as much as you can until you are well.
Monitor your symptoms and talk with your doctor if your symptoms worsen or become severe. For example, if you:
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Why Do I Need To Get Vaccinated Every Year
Youve probably noticed by now that we encourage our patients to get vaccinated each year. Why does this particular vaccine need to be administered again, even if you got a flu shot last year? Its because new strains of the virus are constantly appearing and evolving, so the vaccine must change along with them.
Located around the world are influenza surveillance centers that annually monitor the most common strains, collecting data and identifying new and evolving strains. Once the information has been collected, the World Health Organization selects the three strains most likely to circulate during the following flu season. This decision is typically made in February, allowing the development of a new vaccine to begin around midsummer.
Because the three strains change each year, the vaccines are formulated separately before theyre combined into the final product, the trivalent vaccine. While its usually fairly accurate, there have been instances, such as the infamous H1N1 outbreak in 2009, that required the addition of a second, separate vaccination.
In addition to the constantly evolving strains of the flu virus, your bodys immune response changes over time. Taken together, those two factors essentially render the previous years vaccinations useless against new strains. This is why its so important to get yourself vaccinated each and every year, even if you got the vaccine last year!
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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I Heard That The Flu Vaccine Was Not Very Effective Why Should I Get It If Its Not Effective
While vaccine effectiveness can vary, studies show that flu vaccination reduces the risk of flu illness by between 40% and 60% among the overall population during seasons when most circulating flu viruses are well-matched to the flu vaccine. It is also the best way to reduce your risk of serious illness. Remember, if you dont get a vaccine at all, thats 0% effective.
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.
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The Flu Vaccine Is Covered By Many Health Plans
The Affordable Care Act requires most health plans to cover preventive care, including flu vaccinations. Check with your health plan. Some plans may require that your vaccine be administered by a health care provider who is a member of the plans network in order to qualify for coverage.
Flu vaccination is the best way to prevent getting the flu, says Dr. Sax. He adds that every infectious disease specialist he knows gets vaccinated, as a way to protect themselves and to prevent spreading the disease. And remember, contrary to popular belief, you cannot get the flu from the flu vaccine. Flu season overlaps with the cough and cold season. If you get a cold shortly after you get a flu vaccine, its completely unrelated to the vaccine.
In summary, while there are more choices out there for flu vaccine than ever, its more important to get any of the available vaccines than to worry too much about getting the right one, as all will do a good job at protecting you from the flu. The only option not worth considering? Failing to get your flu vaccine.
Dr. Paul Sax, Clinical Director of Infectious Disease at Brigham and Womens Hospital, discusses why flu vaccination remains the best method to prevent this serious illness.
Paul Edward Sax, MD, is the clinical director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Brigham and Womens Hospital.
Dispelling Misinformation About The Flu Vaccine Sickness Treatment And Recovery
If you’ve ever had the , you know how sick you can be. Chances are good that some of the advice friends and family gave you about avoiding or dealing with the flu was wrong. There seems to be no shortage of misinformation and bad advice when it comes to dealing with the flu and the flu shot.
Here are 10 common myths about the flu.
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Side Effects Of The Injection
You cant get the flu from getting a flu shot. A small amount of the influenza virus is used to make the flu shot. However, the final injectable vaccine doesnt contain any live virus. And it cant produce an active infection in your body.
You may experience soreness in the spot where you get the flu shot. Thats caused by your immune systems reaction to the vaccine. This reaction allows your body to produce protective antibodies to fight off the real influenza virus.
You may also experience some of the following side effects after getting the flu shot:
The Flu Is More Serious Than You May Realize
According to a study by the CDC, more than 200,000 people in the United States, on average, are hospitalized each year for illnesses associated with seasonal influenza virus infections. The flu can also be deadly.
Certain groups of adults are at higher risk for serious illness and complications from the flu, including:
- People with chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes.
- People with heart disease and those who have had a stroke.
- People who have HIV or AIDS.
- People who have cancer.
Will People Have To Get A Covid
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In less than a year from the emergence of SARS-CoV-2, several safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines were created and authorized for use in the United States and globally.
Tens of millions of doses of these vaccines have already been administered. Will people have to receive a COVID-19 vaccine every year, as is recommended for seasonal influenza? We asked Amesh A. Adalja, MD, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.
What the frequency of SARS-CoV-2 vaccination may be in the future is an open question. The need for repeat vaccination is conditioned by two factors that do not always overlap the duration of immunity and the need to update the contents of the vaccine. For example, tetanus boosters are given every 10 years and are not different in composition from the original vaccine. Influenza, on the other hand, because of its ability to mutate away from vaccines, often necessitates strain changes on an annual basis. The novel coronavirus, though sharing some similarity with influenza in terms of symptoms and transmission, is from a distinct family of viruses and has its own rates of mutation.
Lastly, I personally would be interested to learn about the experience with veterinary coronavirus vaccines and the duration of immunity they confer and whether they need regular updates.
Who Should Get A Flu Vaccine This Season
Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine every season with rare exceptions. Vaccination is particularly important for people who are at higher risk of serious complications from influenza. A full listing of people at Higher Risk of Developing Flu-Related Complications is available.
Flu vaccination has important benefits. It can reduce flu illnesses, doctors visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations and deaths.
Different flu vaccines are approved for use in different groups of people.
- There are flu shots approved for use in children as young as 6 months old and flu shots approved for use in adults 65 years and older.
- Flu shots also are recommended for pregnant people and people with certain chronic health conditions.
- The nasal spray flu vaccine is approved for use in non-pregnant people who are 2 years through 49 years of age. People who are pregnant and people with certain medical conditions should not receive the nasal spray flu vaccine.
There are many vaccine options to choose from. CDC does not recommend any one flu vaccine over another. The most important thing is for all people 6 months and older to get a flu vaccine every year.
If you have questions about which flu vaccine to get, talk to your doctor or other health care professional. More information is available at Who Should Get Vaccinated.
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