Who Can Get A Free Flu Vaccine
You can get a free flu vaccine if you are:
- aged 50 to 64 years
- living in a nursing home or other long-term care facility
- in regular contact with pigs, poultry or waterfowl
People aged 50 to 64 have been added to the free flu vaccine programme until the end of April 2022.
People with these conditions can also get a free flu vaccine:
- chronic heart disease, including acute coronary syndrome
- chronic liver disease
- chronic kidney failure
- chronic respiratory disease, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease , cystic fibrosis, moderate or severe asthma, or bronchopulmonary dysplasia
- chronic neurological disease including multiple sclerosis, hereditary and degenerative disorders of the central nervous system
Cdc Withdrawing Pcr Test To Focus On Other Goals
On July 21, the CDC announced it would withdraw the request for an emergency use authorization for the agency-developed PCR test after Dec. 31.
The test will be removed because the Food and Drug Administration, which is in charge of approving the use of medical devices and vaccines, has authorized “hundreds” of other COVID-specific tests similar to the CDC’s, the agency said in an Aug. 2 clarification after the announcement sparked confusion.
“CDC began distributing the CDC 2019 Novel Coronavirus Real-Time RT-PCR Diagnostic Panel to fill a gap,” the release said. “The wide availability of other SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic tests means that the CDC 2019 Novel Coronavirus Real-Time RT-PCR Diagnostic Panel is no longer filling an unmet need.”
The discontinuation, which only applies to the CDC-manufactured test and not other diagnostic tests authorized for use by the FDA, would also let the CDC “focus its resources on public health surveillance testing and other response activities,” according to the release.
Jasmine Reed, a CDC spokeswoman, told USA TODAY in July the agency also wanted to encourage laboratories to start using tests that can detect the influenza virus and COVID-19 in the same swab to conserve time and resources.
The CDC has its own test that can detect and differentiate COVID-19 and the influenza A and B viruses. That test is not being withdrawn.
USA TODAY reached out to the CDC for comment.
A Brief History Of The Flu Vaccine
Every year, three to five million people catch the seasonal flu, according to the World Health Organization , and between 290,000 and 650,000 people die from it worldwide. Still, thanks to the flu vaccine, this is only a fraction of how many people it used to kill. During the last major flu pandemic of 1918-1919, it killed between 50 and 100 million people around the world.
For a long time, scientists had thought that the flu was caused by a bacteria called Haemophilus influenzae, but after the 1918-19 pandemic, they started to suspect it was caused by a virus instead. However, it wouldnt be until the 1930s that they would confirm that. In 1933, three scientists isolated the Influenza A virus in ferrets one of the three types of flu and in 1936, it was discovered that the virus could be grown inside embryonated chicken eggs, a key step towards making a vaccine.
Just two years later, in 1938, Jonas Salk and Thomas Francis developed the first vaccine using fertilized chicken eggs and an inactivated strain of the Influenza A virus.
This new vaccine was first used to help protect soldiers fighting in World War II it wouldnt be approved for civilians until 1946. According to a 1944 study of the new vaccine, it helped reduce illness that was accompanied by a temperature above 99 degrees Fahrenheit.
Know your flu risk. Check out the Flu Tracker on The Weather Channel App.
Also Check: Theraflu Flu And Sore Throat Side Effects
Who Can Have The Flu Vaccine
The flu vaccine is given free on the NHS to people who:
- are 50 and over
- have certain health conditions
- are pregnant
- are in long-stay residential care
- receive a carer’s allowance, or are the main carer for an older or disabled person who may be at risk if you get sick
- live with someone who is more likely to get infections
- frontline health or social care workers
Major Advancements In Flu Prevention And Treatment Since 1918
The science of influenza has come a long way in 100 years! Developments since the 1918 pandemic include vaccines to help prevent flu, antiviral drugs to treat flu illness, antibiotics to treat secondary bacterial infections such as pneumonia, and a global influenza surveillance system with 114 World Health Organization member states that constantly monitors flu activity. There also is a much better understanding of non-pharmaceutical interventionssuch as social distancing, respiratory and cough etiquette and hand hygieneand how these measures help slow the spread of flu.
There is still much work to do to improve U.S. and global readiness for the next flu pandemic. More effective vaccines and antiviral drugs are needed in addition to better surveillance of influenza viruses in birds and pigs. CDC also is working to minimize the impact of future flu pandemics by supporting research that can enhance the use of community mitigation measures . These non-pharmaceutical interventions continue to be an integral component of efforts to control the spread of flu, and in the absence of flu vaccine, would be the first line of defense in a pandemic.
Don’t Miss: Does Cvs Give Flu Vaccines
Northern Hemisphere Influenza Season
The composition of trivalent virus vaccines for use in the 2017â2018 Northern Hemisphere influenza season recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices on August 25, 2017, was:
- an A/Michigan/45/2015 pdm09âlike virus
- an A/Hong Kong/4801/2014 -like virus
- a B/Brisbane/60/2008âlike virus
In addition to these components, quadrivalent vaccines will also include a B/Phuket/3073/2013âlike virus .
In California, some emergency systems were strained by a spike in H3N2 flu cases. In addition, some areas experienced local shortages of oseltamivir. The severity of the flu season seemed somewhat comparable to the 2009â10 swine flu outbreak. A February 2018 CDC interim report estimated the vaccine effectiveness to be 25% against H3N2, 67% against H1N1, and 42% against influenza B.
Survey Commissioned By Cabinet Office
Opinium conducted an online survey with a nationally representative sample of 3,000 adults in England which ran from 10 to 14 September 2021.
20% were unaware that flu is spread by germs from coughs and sneezes and can live on hands and surfaces for 24 hours 12% said they didnt know, 8% said it was false and 80% said it was true
13% said flu is a disease of the past and doesnt pose as much of a threat today 8% said they didnt know and 79% said it was false
9% said the vaccination against COVID-19 will protect you from flu 12% said they didnt know and 81% said it was false
14% said flu wont be as prevalent this autumn and winter due to past lockdowns 65% said false, 21% said dont know
13% said flu is no longer a fatal respiratory disease 13% said they didnt know and 75% said it was false
83% said they were likely to have a booster vaccine for COVID-19 if offered 5% said unlikely, 9% said neither likely nor unlikely and 3% said didnt know
66% said they were likely to have a flu vaccine 17% said unlikely, 13% said neither likely nor unlikely and 4% didnt know
Over 50s :
37% unaware that flu could pose a personal threat to their health this autumn and winter
11% unaware that the COVID-19 vaccine does not protect them against flu
24% unaware that COVID-19 and flu can circulate at the same time
Those with long-term health conditions :
Pregnant women :
Also Check: What Cold And Flu Medicine Is Safe During Pregnancy
Flu Shot Side Effects : What’s Normal And What’s Cause For Concern
All vaccines have the potential to cause side effects, and that includes your yearly flu shot. But most are totally normal.
The coronavirus is still a very real concern this fall, but so is the influenza virus, aka the flu. The good news is we have very safe and effective tools for fighting and preventing both potentially deadly viruses, thanks to the COVID-19 vaccines and the flu vaccine.
According to the CDC, flu shots are safe and one of the best ways to keep from getting and spreading the flu to others. And people who get vaccinated and get sick anyway often experience less severe symptoms. If you’re thinking of getting vaccinated for both COVID-19 and the flu, the CDC says it is safe to get both vaccines together .
The simple fact is, flu vaccines can save lives. There are plenty of myths out there about the flu vaccine, such as the idea that it can give you the flu. While that’s not true, you can experience some side effects from the flu shot. The side effects are usually mild and nothing to worry about, but it’s important to know about them so you’re not worried when you get your vaccine.
Below, Dr. Carmen Teague, specialty medical director at Atrium Health‘s Mecklenburg Medical Group shares what you need to know about common flu shot side effects that are normal, and which side effects may be a sign of something more serious.
Our Health & Wellness newsletter puts the best products, updates and advice in your inbox.
How To Book Your Appointment
If you’re eligible for a free flu vaccine, you can book an appointment at your GP surgery or a pharmacy that offers it on the NHS.
You may also get an invitation to get the vaccine, but you do not have to wait for this before booking an appointment.
Everyone who is eligible for the free flu vaccine will be able to get it.
GP surgeries and pharmacies get the flu vaccine in batches. If you cannot get an appointment straight away, ask if you can book an appointment for when more vaccines are available.
If you have an appointment for a COVID-19 booster vaccine at a GP surgery or pharmacy, you may also be offered a flu vaccine at the same time.
Do not delay booking your flu vaccine appointment so that you can get both vaccines together. Only some people will be offered both vaccines at the same time.
Read Also: Cvs Minute Clinic Cost Of Flu Shot
Illness Overburdened The Health Care System
An estimated 195,000 Americans died during October alone. In the fall of 1918, the United States experienced a severe shortage of professional nurses during the flu pandemic because large numbers of them were deployed to military camps in the United States and abroad. This shortage was made worse by the failure to use trained African American nurses. The Chicago chapter of the American Red Cross issued an urgent call for volunteers to help nurse the ill. Philadelphia was hit hard by the pandemic with more than 500 corpses awaiting burial, some for more than a week. Many parts of the U.S. had been drained of physicians and nurses due to calls for military service, so there was a shortage of medical personnel to meet the civilian demand for health care during the 1918 flu pandemic. In Massachusetts, for example, Governor McCall asked every able-bodied person across the state with medical training to offer their aid in fighting the outbreak.
As the numbers of sick rose, the Red Cross put out desperate calls for trained nurses as well as untrained volunteers to help at emergency centers. In October of 1918, Congress approved a $1 million budget for the U. S. Public Health Service to recruit 1,000 medical doctors and more than 700 registered nurses.
Mrna Flu Shots Move Into Trials
Hot off the successful deployment of mRNA vaccines for the prevention of COVID-19, three leading drugmakers have moved seasonal flu vaccine candidates built with the technology into early clinical testing. More companies intend to follow their leads next year .
These candidates, if successful, could dramatically bolster the efficacy of a vaccine class that often delivers lacklustre protection. For mRNAs proponents led by Moderna, Pfizer and Sanofi, all of which initiated phase I trials in recent months new flu jabs could prove lucrative or help maintain standing in a global market projected to exceed US$10 billion by decades end.
Recommended Reading: Kaiser Porter Ranch Flu Shots
How Is The Flu Vaccine Given
- Kids younger than 9 years old will get two doses of flu vaccine, spaced at least 1 month apart, if they’ve had fewer than two doses before July 2019. This includes kids who are getting the flu vaccine for the first time.
- Those younger than 9 who had at least two doses of flu vaccine will only need one dose.
- Kids older than 9 need only one dose of the vaccine.
Talk to your doctor about how many doses your child needs.
Do You Need To Test Out Of Isolation Or Quarantine
For those who test positive for COVID and isolate for the required five-day period without symptoms, there is not currently a requirement to test before you see people again, according to the most recent CDC guidance.
“If an individual has access to a test and wants to test, the best approach is to use an antigen test towards the end of the five-day isolation period,” the CDC guidance states. “If your test result is positive, you should continue to isolate until day 10. If your test result is negative, you can end isolation, but continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others at home and in public until day 10.”
The advice for those who tested positive and experienced symptoms also does not indicate a testing requirement, but rather, the person must remain “fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication” and other symptoms should have improved before they end their isolation, which must last a minimum of five days.
Both symptomatic and asymptomatic people should continue wearing masks around others for an additional five days, the guidance states.
For those in quarantine, however, the guidance is different.
According to the CDC, those exposed to COVID who develop symptoms should test immediately and enter isolation protocols until they receive their results and if they positive.
Read Also: Can You Test For The Flu
Flu Vaccine For Frontline Health And Social Care Workers
If you’re a frontline health and social care worker, your employer should offer you a flu vaccine. They may give the vaccine at your workplace.
You can also have an NHS flu vaccine at a GP surgery or a pharmacy if:
- you’re a health or social care worker employed by a registered residential care or nursing home, registered homecare organisation or a hospice
- you work in NHS primary care and have direct contact with patients this includes contractors, non-clinical staff and locums
- you provide health or social care through direct payments or personal health budgets, or both
The 1918 Flu Virus Spread Quickly
500 million people were estimated to have been infected by the 1918 H1N1 flu virus. At least 50 million people were killed around the world including an estimated 675,000 Americans. In fact, the 1918 pandemic actually caused the average life expectancy in the United States to drop by about 12 years for both men and women.
In 1918, many people got very sick, very quickly. In March of that year, outbreaks of flu-like illness were first detected in the United States. More than 100 soldiers at Camp Funston in Fort Riley Kansas became ill with flu. Within a week, the number of flu cases quintupled. There were reports of some people dying within 24 hours or less. 1918 flu illness often progressed to organ failure and pneumonia, with pneumonia the cause of death for most of those who died. Young adults were hit hard. The average age of those who died during the pandemic was 28 years old.
Don’t Miss: Does Caresource Cover Flu Shots
Flu Vaccine During Pregnancy
If you are pregnant, you should get the flu vaccine as soon as possible.This is because pregnant people are more at risk of complications from flu.
If you are pregnant through two flu seasons , you may needto get two flu vaccines . Readmore about the flu vaccine during pregnancy.
You may be able to get the flu vaccine on the same day as the whoopingcough vaccine.
When To Get The Flu Vaccine
The flu vaccine is available from early October until late April everyyear.
It will protect you against the most common strains of flu going around eachwinter. As strains of flu change every year, you should get a new flu vaccineevery flu season.
When you get the flu vaccine, your immune system will start to produceantibodies. Then, if you come into contact with the flu virus, these antibodieswill fight it and stop you from getting sick.
The flu vaccine does not contain live viruses this means it cannot giveyou flu.
Recommended Reading: What If I Get 2 Flu Shots
When Should People Get The Flu Vaccine
Flu season runs from October to May. It’s best to get a flu vaccine as early in the season as possible, ideally by the end of October. This gives the body a chance to make antibodies that protect from the flu. But getting a flu vaccine later in the season is better than not getting it at all. Getting a missed flu vaccine late in the season is especially important for people who travel. That’s because the flu can be active around the globe from April to September.
How Long After Covid Exposure Could You Test Positive
According to the CDC, the incubation period for COVID is between two and 14 days, though the newest guidance from the agency suggests a quarantine of five days for those who are not boosted, but eligible or unvaccinated. Those looking to get tested after exposure should do so five days after the exposure or if they begin experiencing, the CDC recommends.
Those who are boosted and vaccinated, or those who are fully vaccinated and not yet eligible for a booster shot, do not need to quarantine, but should wear masks for 10 days and also get tested five days after the exposure, unless they are experiencing symptoms.
Still, for those who are vaccinated and boosted but are still looking to be cautious, Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said an additional test at seven days could help.
“If you’re taking multiple at home tests, you know, the recommendation is five days later take a test. But if you have taken one at five and it’s negative and you’re feeling good, chances are very good that you’re not going to have any more issues there,” she said. “I think if you’re being extra careful there, if you wanted to test again, you know, at seven even, sometimes people look at three to get an earlier sense of things. But if you’re gonna do it once do it in five and I feel good about that.”
Arwady said testing is likely not necessary after seven days following exposure for those who are vaccinated and boosted.
Recommended Reading: Penn State Health Flu Shots