Myth: Flu Is A Harmless Infection
Truth: Flu can cause serious health complications and even be deadly
Flu is a respiratory infection that can cause severe complications and in certain cases be deadly. This is particularly so for vulnerable groups such as young children, older adults as well as people with certain medical conditions or chronic conditions.
While a flu vaccination might not be 100% effective in preventing the flu, it is still the best way to prevent the onset of flu and prevent any further complications from flu. Under the Ministry of Healths National Immunisation Schedule, it is recommended that one dose of influenza vaccination is recommended per year or per flu season.
Myth: You Can Catch The Flu From The Flu Vaccine
Truth: Flu vaccines cannot transmit the flu virus
Flu vaccines are made of inactivated forms of the flu virus, they cannot transmit infection. Often, if individuals fall ill or feel unwell after a flu vaccine there is a perception that the vaccine causes individuals to get sick or get the flu. This is not true and flu vaccines cannot cause flu.
What Is The Flu
Influenza is a highly contagious respiratory illness thats caused by the influenza virus. There are two main types of influenza virus: type A and type B. These main types are further subdivided into multiple subtypes and strains, including the well-known H1N1 strain. The effect each of these strains may have on you depends on your age and overall health.
If you have the flu, symptoms may include:
In more extreme cases, you may experience vomiting and diarrhea. Although symptoms tend to emerge suddenly, you may find yourself experiencing a milder version in the early stages of the virus. Its also important to note that you may be a carrier for the virus even if you arent experiencing any symptoms yourself.
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Can Inactivated Influenza Vaccine Be Given At The Same Time As Other Vaccines Such As Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Or Zoster Vaccines
Yes if other vaccines are indicated, they can be administered during the same clinical encounter as inactivated influenza vaccine. When giving several injections at a single visit, administer each vaccine at a separate injection site. The injection sites should be separated by 1 inch or more, if possible, so that any local reactions can be differentiated.
How Long The Flu Shot Lasts
Your bodys immunity to the flu decreases over time. This is true whether youve had a vaccination or a flu infection.
Additionally, influenza viruses are constantly changing. Because of this, a vaccine from the previous flu season may not protect you through an upcoming flu season.
Generally speaking, receiving the seasonal influenza vaccine should help to protect you for the duration of the current flu season.
Youll need to receive a seasonal influenza vaccine every year in order to have the best protection against influenza viruses.
The flu vaccine is produced by a number of private manufacturers and typically begins to ship to healthcare providers in August. However, theres some evidence that it may not be advantageous to receive your vaccine this early.
A indicated that maximum immunity is achieved shortly following vaccination and decreases with each passing month. Therefore, if you get your vaccine in August, you may be more susceptible to infection late in the flu season, around February or March.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting the flu vaccine before influenza activity begins to pick up within your community, ideally by the end of October.
If you receive your vaccine later, dont worry. Late vaccination can still provide adequate protection, as influenza can circulate within your community through March or even later.
Side effects from the flu shot are typically mild and only last a few days.
Flu vaccine side effects can include:
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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.
How The Flu Shot Is Determined Each Year
Millions of people get the flu every year during flu season, which is primarily during the fall and winter months with December through February being the peak point. Infection with the influenza virus, commonly known as the flu virus, can lead to all manner of symptoms from fever and congestion to fatigue or respiratory issues.
But while some people experience flu infection as little more than a “rough cold,” the flu is a potentially serious illness. Complications from the flu can lead to hospitalization or even deathespecially for older people, very young children, and those with chronic health conditions like heart disease, asthma, or diabetes.
The best way to reduce your risk of getting the flu is to get an annual flu shot. All flu vaccines available in the U.S. are quadrivalent, meaning they have been engineered to protect against four different strains of influenza. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that, with few exceptions, anyone aged 6 months or older get vaccinated against the flu with either a direct injection vaccine or an attenuated vaccine, which is administered as a nasal spray.
Stacker used information from the CDC, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and the World Health Organization to compile a list of things to know about the flu shot, including the different ways flu shots are manufactured and how the viral strains included in the shot are identified each year.
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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 flu illness.
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.
What’s The Best Time To Get The Flu Shot
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.
It takes two weeks for the body to build immunity after getting a flu shot, so an October vaccination generally means a person would be as protected as possible before the season gets going, and before families get together for the holidays, which increases the likelihood of spreading germs.
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Myth #: Waiting Until Winter For A Flu Shot Is Safer
Fact: While peak flu season is between December and February, you can get sick as early as October. Some believe that getting vaccinated later will protect them longer, which is simply false. This also leaves you exposed for weeks, or months while the virus is floating around.
Also, an annual flu shot helps your body build immunityfor the types of influenza viruses that research indicates will be the most common that season. But immunity isnt built as soon as you get the shot.
Im Pregnant Is It Safe To Get The Flu Shot
Yes, the flu shot is safe. Those who are pregnant should be immunized. Infants born during flu season to mothers who got a flu shot are usually protected against the flu for a few months. The flu shot is also safe and highly recommended for those breastfeeding. Since infants less than 6 months of age cannot get the flu shot , antibodies against the flu are transferred through breast milk.
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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.
Should I Wait To Get A Flu Shot If I’m Getting A Covid Vaccine Or Booster
There’s no need to choose. Not only should you be vaccinated against both COVID and influenza, but you can even get the shots on the same day if you like.
When the COVID vaccines first became available, people were advised not to get any other vaccines for at least two weeks afterwards. That was because the COVID shots were so new that it was important to keep track of what side effects they were causing.
But the COVID vaccine has proved to be extraordinarily safe, and experts now say that it’s fine to get other vaccines at the same time or soon afterwards. In fact, in September, two major pharmaceutical companies and Modernaannounced that they were developing combined COVID booster and flu vaccine shots. The new combos, though, won’t be available in time for this flu season.
Experts advise that if you do get a COVID shot and a flu shot on the same day that you don’t have them both in the same arm to minimize soreness.
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Are Any Of The Available Flu Vaccines Recommended Over Others
Yes, for some people. For the 2022-2023 flu season, there are three flu vaccines that are preferentially recommended for people 65 years and older. These are Fluzone High-DoseQuadrivalent vaccine, Flublok Quadrivalent recombinantflu vaccine or Fluad Quadrivalent adjuvanted flu vaccine. On June 22, 2022, CDCs Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted unanimously to preferentially recommend these vaccines overstandard-dose unadjuvanted flu vaccines. This recommendation was based on a review of available studies which suggests that, in this age group, these vaccines are potentially more effective than standard dose unadjuvanted flu vaccines. There is no preferential recommendation for people younger than 65 years.
Reimbursement For Influenza Vaccination
GPs and pharmacies will receive reimbursement for vaccinations given between 24 May and 17 July 2022. Patients will not have to pay for the vaccination during this time.
If you have paid for an influenza vaccination during this time and you are a Queensland resident vaccinated in Queensland, you can contact Queensland Health on 13HEALTH. We will take your details and arrange reimbursement once you provide proof of vaccination and proof of payment.
Anyone who paid for and received their influenza vaccination before 24 May 2022 will not receive a reimbursement.
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Is There More Than One Type Of Flu Shot Available
Yes. There are different flu vaccine manufacturers and multiple flu vaccines that are licensed and recommended for use in the United States.
For people younger than 65 years, CDC does not preferentially recommend any licensed, age-appropriate influenza vaccine over another during the 2022-2023 flu season. Options for this age group include inactivated influenza vaccine , recombinant influenza vaccine , or live attenuated influenza vaccine , with no preference for any flu vaccine over another.
New for this season: For people 65 years and older, there are three flu vaccines that are preferentially recommended overstandard-dose, unadjuvanted flu vaccines. These are Fluzone High-DoseQuadrivalent vaccine, Flublok Quadrivalent recombinantflu vaccine and Fluad Quadrivalent adjuvanted flu vaccine. More information is available at Flu & People 65 Years and Older.
All flu vaccines for the 2022-2023 season are quadrivalent vaccines, designed to protect against four different flu viruses, including two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses. Different vaccines are licensed for use in different age groups, and some vaccines are not recommended for some groups of people.
Available flu vaccines include:
Flu & People 65 Years And Older
People 65 years and older are at higher risk of developing serious flu complications compared with young, healthy adults. This increased risk is due in part to changes in immune defenses with increasing age. While flu seasons vary in severity, during most seasons, people 65 years and older bear the greatest burden of severe flu disease. In recent years, for example, its estimated that between 70 percent and 85 percent of seasonal flu-related deaths have occurred in people 65 years and older, and between 50 percent and 70 percent of seasonal flu-related hospitalizations have occurred among people in this age group.
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Some Say Annual Shot Premature
Other experts say it’s too soon to tell whether an annual approach will work.
“We have no data to support that current vaccines, including the new BA.5 booster, will provide durable protection beyond 4 to 6 months. It would be good to aspire to this objective, and much longer duration or protection, but that will likely require next generation and nasal vaccines,” said Eric Topol, MD, Medscape’s editor-in-chief and founder and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute.
A report in Nature Reviews Immunology last month states, “Mucosal vaccines offer the potential to trigger robust protective immune responses at the predominant sites of pathogen infection” and potentially “can prevent an infection from becoming established in the first place, rather than only curtailing infection and protecting against the development of disease symptoms.”
Topol tweeted after the White House statements, ” has the ring of Covid capitulation.”
William Schaffner, MD, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tennessee, told Medscape Medical News that he cautions against interpreting the White House comments as official policy.
“This is the difficulty of having public health announcements come out of Washington,” he said. “They ought to come out of the CDC.”
He says there is a reasonable analogy between COVID and influenza, but warns, “don’t push the analogy.”
Both viruses also mutate. But there the paths diverge.
What Is The Appropriate Schedule For Children
Annual influenza vaccination is recommended for persons 6 months of age and older. Some children will need 2 doses of influenza vaccine in the same season. The following children will require 2 doses of influenza vaccine, administered at least 4 weeks apart, for the 20202021 season:
- Children 6 months through 8 years of age who have never received seasonal influenza vaccine or for whom vaccination history is unknown
- Children 6 months through 8 years of age who have not received at least 2 doses* of seasonal influenza vaccine before July 1, 2020
The following children will require 1 dose of influenza vaccine for the 20202021 season:
- Children 6 months through 8 years of age who have received at least 2 doses* of seasonal influenza vaccine before July 1, 2020
- Children 9 years of age and older
*Doses do not need to have been received during the same or consecutive influenza seasons.
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People With Allergies To Vaccine Components Or Allergic Reactions To Influenza Vaccines
A previous severe allergic reaction to a component of an influenza vaccine is a contraindication to receipt of that vaccine and vaccines containing that component. Vaccine components can be found in package inserts.
For people who have had an allergic reaction to a previous dose of an influenza vaccine, future receipt of that vaccine is contraindicated. For other influenza vaccines, there will either be a contraindication or a precaution to future receipt. Whether another influenza vaccine has a contraindication or precaution depends upon what vaccine was associated with the severe allergic reaction. Current ACIP recommendations has further guidance. If vaccination is elected when a precaution is present, it should occur in a medical setting under supervision of a provider who can recognize and manage a severe allergic reaction. Providers can also consider consultation with an allergist in such cases to help identify the vaccine component responsible for the severe allergic reaction.