Sunday, October 1, 2023

Flu Shot Is A Vaccine

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How You Can Help Fight Superbugs

FDA gives the green light to approve new vaccine boosters

The good news is that were making progress in the battle against superbugs. Aetna is working to educate doctors about the dangers of overprescribing antibiotics for common complaints like acute bronchitis, in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state Departments of Health. In 2018, the program reduced unnecessary prescriptions by 16%. In 2019, the initiative will be expanding to additional states.

But we need your help. You can fight the rise of antibiotic-resistant superbugs by asking the right questions and taking your medication as directed. If your doctor offers to prescribe you antibiotics, ask if theyre really necessary. Doctors may think people are coming to them for antibiotics, Dr. Knecht says. Asking doctors if antibiotics are needed lets them know that youre there for the right treatment, whatever that is. And if you do need antibiotics for a bacterial illness, dont skip doses and do take all the pills prescribed to you, even after you feel better. And dont share antibiotics with others.

Imagine a world where you dont know if antibiotics will work, Dr. Knecht urges. Many people dont recognize how important they are. We need to elevate their status and preserve this precious resource.

Also Check: What Do They Use To Treat The Flu

When To Get A Flu Shot

Since the timing of the onset, peak, and end of flu season changes from year to year and cannot be predicted, it is difficult to pinpoint the best time for getting vaccinated.

For people taking these or other drugs that suppress the immune system, the optimum time to receive a flu shot is from October to mid-November.

Flu shots are generally available in early September. The flu shot should be scheduled well before the flu season starts to get busy because it can take one to two weeks for the shot to take effect.

Flu activity usually peaks between December and February, with some activity as late as May. Therefore, the vaccination could be given even later, if necessary, because receiving a shot late is better than not getting one at all.

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People At High Risk Of Complications From The Flu

  • people with health conditions, such as:
  • cancer and other immune compromising conditions
  • kidney disease
  • neurological or neurodevelopmental conditions
  • children up to 18 years of age undergoing treatment for long periods with acetylsalicylic acid
  • people 65 years and older
  • people who live in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities
  • children under 5 years of age
  • people who experience barriers in accessing health care
  • people who are at an increased risk of disease because of living conditions, such as overcrowding
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    What Are The Types Of Flu Vaccines

    Two types of flu vaccine are available for the 20212022 flu season:

    • the flu shot, which is injected with a needle
    • the nasal spray, a mist that gets sprayed into the nostrils

    Both protect against the four types of influenza virus that are causing disease this season.

    In the past, the nasal spray vaccine wasn’t recommended for kids because it didn’t seem to work well enough. The newer version appears to work as well as the shot. So either vaccine can be given this year, depending on the child’s age and general health.

    The nasal spray is only for healthy people ages 249. People with weak immune systems or some health conditions and pregnant women should not get the nasal spray vaccine. It should also be avoided in kids who take aspirin regularly, who have a cochlear implant, or who have recently taken antiviral medicine for the flu.

    Pregnancy And Influenza Immunisation

    Flu vaccine: this year more than ever

    Pregnant women are at increased risk of complications from the flu. The flu vaccine is strongly recommended and safe for pregnant women at any time during pregnancy. It can also be safely given while breastfeeding.

    Flu vaccination of pregnant women also protects infants against the flu for the first 6 months after birth due to transplacental transfer of antibodies from the vaccinated woman to the unborn baby.

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    Don’t Forget Your Flu Shot

    Poggemiller said vaccines for the upcoming influenza season will be available about mid-September and advised that people don’t put it off.

    “We encourage people to get it as soon as it’s available, because for it to be effective, it takes about two weeks, and we don’t want anyone exposed to the flu,” Poggemiller said.

    Flu infections occur year-round, but they are most common during the fall and winter, increasing in October and peaking between December and February.

    As with the COVID vaccine, getting a flu shot won’t provide complete protection against the flu, but infections among those who get the vaccine will be less severe.

    To stay up to date on vaccine and other public health information, visit Des Moines County Public Health’s new website,

    Michaele Niehaus covers business, development, environment and agriculture for The Hawk Eye. She can be reached at

    What Vaccines Protect Against Flu

    For the 2020-2021 flu season, CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccination for everyone 6 months and older.

    • Flu shots can be given to your child 6 months and older.
    • The nasal spray vaccine can be given to people 2 through 49 years of age. However, certain people with underlying medical conditions should not get the nasal spray vaccine.

    Your childs doctor will know which vaccines are right for your child.

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    Tetanus Diphtheria & Whooping Cough

    If you have not received a dose of Tdap during your lifetime, you need to get a Tdap shot now . All women need to get a dose during each pregnancy. After that, you need a Td or Tdap booster dose every 10 years. Consult your healthcare provider if you havent had at least 3 tetanus- and diphtheria-toxoid containing shots sometime in your life or if you have a deep or dirty wound. Learn more at

    Consult your healthcare provider to determine your level of risk for infection and your need for this vaccine. Immunization offerings may vary by state.

    Where Does The Flu Shot Come From

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    In the United States, the three different flu vaccine production technologies approved by the Food and Drug Administration are:

    • Egg-based flu vaccine
    • Cell-based flu vaccine
    • Recombinant flu vaccine

    Egg-based vaccines are the most common way the vaccine is made. The CDC or another approved lab partner provides candidate vaccine viruses to be grown in eggs, per FDA requirements. The CVVs are then injected into fertilized hen eggs and allowed to replicate.

    The fluid with the virus is then harvested, the virus is killed or inactivated, and the antigen is purified. Then it is tested and packaged.

    In cell-based vaccines, the CDC or a lab partner uses viruses grown in cells to make CVVs, which are then put into cultured mammalian cells and allowed to replicate. The virus-containing fluid is collected and the antigen purified, then tested and packaged.

    In recombinant vaccines, there is no CVV to producethese vaccines are created synthetically. They use a gene from the virus that codes for the antigen to produce the antigen in cell lines. No eggs are used.

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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.

    You Can Get The Flu Shot At The Same Time You Get Your Next Covid Booster But If The Flu Shot Is Available First Dont Wait To Get It

    The Biden administration purchased 171 million doses of a new, omicron-targeting COVID booster that is expected to be available in the fall. Experts anticipate that most adults will be able to get it around September.

    While you can get your flu shot when you get your next COVID booster, Johansson reiterated that people should get the flu shot whenever its available. He expects that the flu shot will be available before the updated COVID booster.

    One caveat, though: If you are a person who is uneasy about needles or shots, it may be good to just have one appointment for both if thats more of a guarantee that youll get them. You can get the shots together, one in each arm, Johansson said.

    So, talk to your doctor about getting your flu shot so you can have a plan before cases begin to soar.

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    Where To Get The Influenza Vaccine

    In Victoria the most common way people access the flu vaccine is from their doctor or a pharmacist immuniser . Some local council immunisation services also provide the flu vaccine as do some hospitals, maternity services and community health services.

    Workplaces seeking to reduce the impact of flu infection on employees may also provide flu vaccination programs for their staff.

    Who Should And Who Should Not Get A Flu Vaccine

    Why this years flu shot is different than last

    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.

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    Different Target Different Approach

    While many of the newer approaches for delivering influenza virus antigens can accommodate any viral protein or peptide, most proof-of-concept studies have been conducted with HA. While HA-based immunity is potent and well described, and improving its delivery an important task, a true overhaul of influenza vaccination requires a search for more conserved antigens. The discovery of a protective universal influenza vaccine would essentially remove many of the major issues associated with influenza vaccination. As the vaccine would not need to be updated, the vaccine could be produced year round with a timetable set by manufacturers and not the virus itself. While the search for a universal influenza vaccine is far from over, some more conserved viral epitopes have been evaluated as vaccine targets.

    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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    Rare Side Effects Of The Influenza Vaccine

    There is a very small risk of a serious allergic reaction to any vaccine. This is why you are advised to stay at the clinic, medical surgery, or pharmacy for at least 15 minutes following vaccination in case further treatment is required.

    Apart from anaphylaxis, other extremely rare side effects include in children.

    A small increase in Guillain-Barré syndrome was seen in the US in 1976, but since that time, surveillance has shown that it is limited to one case for every million doses of the flu vaccine, if at all.

    If any other reactions are severe and persistent, or if you are worried, contact your doctor for further information.

    Misconceptions About Physician Consent For Vaccination

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    Do pregnant people or people with pre-existing medical conditions need special permission or written consent from their doctor to get a flu vaccine?

    No. There is no recommendation for pregnant people or people with pre-existing medical conditions to seek special permission or secure written consent from their doctor for vaccination if they get vaccinated at a worksite clinic, pharmacy or other location outside of their physicians office. With rare exception, CDC recommends an annual flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older, including pregnant people and people with medical conditions.

    A variety of flu vaccines are available . Vaccine providers should be aware of the approved age indications of the vaccine they are using and of any contraindications or precautions. Providers also should appropriately screen all people getting vaccinated for allergies to vaccine components or other contraindications. People who have previously had a severe allergic reaction to influenza vaccine or any of its ingredients should generally not be vaccinated.

    There are some people who should not get a flu vaccine without first speaking with their doctor. These include:

    Pregnant people or people with pre-existing medical conditions who get vaccinated should get a flu shot.

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    Misconceptions About Stomach Flu

    Is the stomach flu really flu?

    No. Many people use the term stomach flu to describe illnesses with nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. These symptoms can be caused by many different viruses, bacteria or even parasites. While vomiting, diarrhea, and being nauseous or sick to your stomach can sometimes be related to flu more commonly in children than adults these problems are rarely the main symptoms of influenza. Flu is a respiratory disease and not a stomach or intestinal disease.

    What Does The Flu Shot Do

    By exposing you to a dead or weakened version of the flu virus, the flu shot causes your body to develop antibodies to the virus about two weeks after vaccination.

    The antibodies can protect you from getting the flu. They can also protect you from developing severe influenza complications such as pneumonia, sinus infections, and ear infections if you do get sick.

    The effectiveness of the flu shot can vary based on your age and health as well as how well the vaccine matches the flu viruses that are circulating in your area.

    Still, the flu vaccine can reduce your risk of having to seek medical attention due to the flu by up to 40 percent to 60 percent.

    Read Also: Why Should I Get The Flu Shot While Pregnant

    When To Get Vaccinated

    Its a good idea to get the flu shot at the beginning of the flu season, usually September or October in the U.S.

    If you arent able to get vaccinated by the end of October, dont skip it flu season typically peaks in February.

    The CDC recommends early vaccination for children as well as for people in the third trimester of pregnancy. Adults, especially those aged 65 and older, should avoid early vaccination because protection from the vaccine wanes over time.

    Does My Child Need 2 Doses Of Flu Vaccine For The 2020

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    Children aged 6 months through 8 years of age are recommended to receive 2 doses of flu vaccine, separated by at least 4 weeks, for the 2021-2022 flu season if they have not previously received at least 2 doses of flu vaccine prior to this flu season.

    Children who need 2 doses of influenza vaccine administered at least 4 weeks apart are recommended to receive the first dose as soon as possible after vaccine becomes available.

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    Can I Get The Influenza Vaccine And Covid

    You can get a COVID-19 vaccine and a flu vaccine at the same time.

    Theres a potential of an increase in mild to moderate adverse events when more than 1 vaccine is given at the same time.

    Children can also safely receive other vaccines any time before, after or at the same time as their COVID-19 vaccination. If your child has recently received another vaccine , its best to let your immunisation provider know so they can correctly assess any side effects.

    As with any other vaccine, vaccination will be deferred if youre unwell. If you experience a side effect such as fever following vaccination, other vaccines will not be administered until the side effect has resolved.

    Nih Is Committed To More Flu Vaccine Research

    William Schaffner, MD, an infectious disease specialist and a professor of preventive medicine and health policy at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tennessee, sees the study results as building on evidence indicating that the microbiome the trillions of microbes that live in the gastrointestinal tract has a pervasive effect on our health.

    Taking antibiotics clearly had a measurable reduction in the immune response, but we dont know whether its clinically significant yet, says Dr. Schaffner, who was not involved in the study. It could be that if youre taking antibiotics it might not be a good time to get a flu vaccine, but were not quite there yet in terms of research.

    He also points out that the antibiotic combination used in this investigation was not one seen in common practice.

    This antibiotic cocktail is a very unusual mix of ingredients, says Schaffner. It seems specifically designed to kill off as many gut bacteria as possible.

    For future research, Schaffner would like to see a larger study population and an antibiotic combination used in standard treatment.

    Significantly more work needs to be done to truly understand the real impact of the microbiome on influenza, says Embry.

    Embry adds that the NIH will continue to support research exploring factors that may improve human immune response to influenza vaccines.

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    Is There Anyone Who Should Not Get A Flu Vaccine

    Children less than 6 months of age are too young to receive flu vaccine, which is why it’s especially important everyone who comes into contact with young infants receives flu vaccine themselves. Also, if someone has had a serious allergic reaction to a previous dose of flu vaccine or to one of the vaccine components*, they should not receive flu vaccine. Ask your healthcare provider which flu vaccine is right for you and your child.

    *Note: persons who are allergic to eggs are still recommended to receive flu vaccine.

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