How Much Does Getting A Flu Vaccine Cost
Most people can get a flu vaccine for little to no out-of-pocket cost. Medicare and most private health insurance plans will cover the cost of your flu vaccine. However, some insurance plans require that you receive your vaccine at a specific location. Check with your insurance company. If you do not have health insurance, contact your local or state health department.
Which Virus Makes You Sicker
In the current season, there have been at least 34 million cases of flu in the United States, 350,000 hospitalizations and 20,000 flu deaths, according to the C.D.C. Hospitalization rates among children and young adults this year have been unusually high.
There would be even more illnesses and deaths if there were no flu vaccine. Most people recover in less than two weeks, and sometimes in just days.
Most cases of coronavirus infection are not severe, but some people do become quite sick. Data from the largest study of patients to date, conducted in China, suggests that of coronavirus patients receiving medical attention, 80 percent had mild infections, about 15 percent had severe illnesses, and 5 percent were critical.
The first symptoms, fever and cough, are similar to that of the flu, so the diseases can be hard to tell apart without a test to identify the virus. Pneumonia is common among coronavirus patients, even among those whose cases are not severe.
Experts think there may also be many people with no symptoms at all, or such mild ones that they never bother to seek medical attention. Because those cases have not been counted, its not possible now to know the real proportion of mild versus severe cases.
Antibody tests, which can determine whether someone has ever been infected, may eventually help to establish how many people had mild or asymptomatic coronavirus infections.
About 61000 People Died In The 2017
Since not everyone sick with the flu visits a doctor, and not all flu deaths occur in the hospital, the CDC uses mathematical modeling based on its surveillance data to estimate the total number of illnesses and deaths. This model considers factors like testing frequency, the likelihood of seeking medical care, and underreporting on death certificates. The flu can lead to death by pneumonia, congestive heart failure, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in which case flu testing may occur too late or not at all. According to the CDC, only counting deaths where influenza was recorded on a death certificate would be a gross underestimation of influenzas true impact. For comparison, CDC death certificate data shows that just 5,894 people died of the flu in 2019.
Still, state-level unadjusted death certificate data can help show how flu mortality rates vary across the nation.
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Who Is Most At Risk Of Dying From The Flu
The CDC has a list of people who are at a higher-than-average risk of getting seriously ill with the flu and even dying of it:
- Adults 65 and up
- Young children
- Young children with neurological disease
Certain health conditions can also put people at a higher risk of severe flu, the CDC says, including:
- Chronic kidney disease
The flu tends to kill people at the extremes of age: very young and very old, Dr. Adalja says. The very young and the old may have very low physiological reserve when it comes to fighting influenza off.
Thursday 16 January 2020
The latest Public Health England report published at 2pm on 16 January 2020, shows that seasonal flu continues to circulate across the UK, but there are signs it has peaked.
Over the last week, flu had a low impact on hospital admissions as well as intensive care unit and high dependency unit admissions.
Flu hospitalisation and intensive care admission rates both decreased from 4.33 per 100,000 to 2.43 per 100,000 and 0.36 per 100,000 to 0.21 per 100,000 respectively.
GP consultations with flu-like illness also decreased, from 16.6 per 100,000 to 14.7 per 100,000, but remain above baseline levels.
The report also shows that in week 2, 2020, no statistically significant excess all-cause mortality by week of death had been seen yet overall or by age group in England this season.
Despite the decrease in flu activity, the virus is still circulating in the community and PHE and NHS England are strongly encouraging GPs and pharmacies to continue to vaccinate as many people as possible, as uptake remains lower than last year.
At this stage of the flu season, providers would usually begin to wind down their vaccination efforts.
However, vaccination clinics began later this season due to a delay in the World Health Organizations recommendation on influenza strains and manufacturing delays with the nasal spray for children. All supply issues have now been resolved.
Dr Jamie Lopez Bernal, Head of Flu, Public Health England said:
Thursday 9 January 2019
Friday 3 January 2019
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Thursday 23 January 2020
The latest Public Health England report published at 2pm on 23 January 2020, shows that seasonal flu continues to circulate across the UK, although activity is decreasing.
Over the last week, GP consultations with flu-like illness decreased from 14.7 per 100,000 to 10.3 per 100,000 and are now below baseline levels.
Flu hospitalisation and intensive care admission rates also decreased from 2.43 per 100,000 to 1.44 per 100,000 and 0.21 per 100,000 to 0.13 per 100,000 respectively suggesting flu is having a low impact on hospital admissions as well as intensive care unit and high dependency unit admissions.
The report also shows that in week 3, 2020, no statistically significant excess all-cause mortality by week of death had been seen yet overall or by age group in England this season.
Currently, 71.4% of adults over 65, 42.5% of adults with a long-term health condition, 42.4% of pregnant women, 40.9% of 3-year-olds and 40.3% of 2-year-olds have received the flu vaccine.
At the same time last year, 70.8% of adults over 65, 46.2% of adults with a long-term health condition, 44.5% of pregnant women, 44.6% of 3-year-olds and 42.7% of 2-year-olds were vaccinated.
Dr Jamie Lopez Bernal, Head of Flu, Public Health England said:
Intradermal Vaccine For The Elderly
Two studies are examining the effects of an intradermal influenza vaccine in older adults. In a trial of 258 individuals , Chi and associates randomly assigned participants to receive a standard 15-mcg 0.5-mL IM vaccine a 9-mcg 0.3-mL IM vaccine a 9-mcg 0.3-mL intradermal vaccine or two doses of a 9-mcg 0.15-mL intradermal vaccine.47 Similar seroprotection rates were seen for all groups:
H1N1: 65.6%, 57.8%, 68.9%, and 67.2%
H3N2: 76.6%, 75%, 75.4%, and 75%
B: 26.6%, 17.2%, 16.4%, and 25%
Local injection-site reactions of redness, swelling, and itching were significantly higher with intradermal injections.47
In another trial involving 1,101 patients, Holland et al. compared a 15-mcg per strain vaccine and a 21-mcg per strain intradermal vaccine with a standard 15-mcg IM vaccine.48 The superiority of the intradermal vaccines was observed if the lower limit of the 95% confidence interval exceeded 1. GMTs were increased in all groups but were higher in the two intradermal groups. Both intradermal vaccines were superior to the standard vaccine. GMTs were 48% to 70% higher than that seen with the standard vaccine. No statistical significance was observed between the 21-mcg and 15-mcg intradermal vaccines. Malaise and injection-site ecchymoses were similar in all three groups, but other injection-site reactions were more common in the two intradermal vaccine groups.48
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How Does The Flu Spread
The flu is contagious, which means it spreads from person to person. It mostly spreads through droplets in the air when people with flu cough, sneeze, or talk. It can spread from up to six feet away. Although it isnt as common, the flu can also spread from surfaces, for example, if you touch something the virus is on and then touch your nose, mouth, or eyes.
It’s possible to spread the flu before you feel sick and when you have symptoms. Typically, people with the flu can spread it a day before, and up to a week after feeling sick. Young children and people with weakened immune systems may be able to spread the flu for even longer. If you or someone you know is sick with the flu, take steps to help prevent spreading the disease.
How Severe Will The Upcoming 2021
It’s far too soon to say, but experts are still worried about what could happen. “We’re mildly terrified about how things could unfold with flu season this year,”James H. Conway, MD, FAAP, a pediatric infectious disease specialist and associate director for health sciences at the Global Health Institute of UW-Madison, tells Health.
This is for a few reasons. First: Australiawhich has its winter and flu season during summertime in the USdidn’t have a flu season this year. While that could be good news for a less severe season in the US, it also spells trouble for vaccine formulation. “Usually when the powers that be are trying to figure out which strains to put in the vaccine, they are basing it on what circulated in the southern hemisphere during summer,” says Dr. Conway. “They didn’t have any flu season, so the powers that be couldn’t figure out prevalent flu strains.”
The low numbers of flu cases last year could also negatively impact this year’s flu season. With lower-than-usual rates of both flu vaccinations and flu cases, the US population is “relatively immunologically naive,” says Dr. Conwaythat means we don’t have any leftover immunity from last flu season. Pair that with more people going out into public more often with lessening mask restrictions, and it could lead to a potentially more severe flu season than last year.
When Is Flu Season
While the influenza virus can circulate year round, the highest peaks occur between December and February.
The virus is known to live longer during the winter months because of the lack of humidity outside.
Since the winter months are when people spend the most time inside, by the virus living longer, it causes more infections versus the spring and summer time when the air is humid and the virus can’t live as long.
Why Do You Need A Flu Vaccine Every Year
You need a flu vaccine every year for two reasons. First, flu viruses change and the flu vaccine is updated each year to target the flu viruses that are anticipated to spread that year. Second, the protection you get from a flu vaccine lessens with time, especially in older people. Getting your flu vaccine every fall gives you the best protection from that year’s flu viruses.
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The 2009 H1n1 Pandemic
Beginning on April 15, 2009, the world witnessed its first influenza pandemic in nearly 40 years. H1N1 was a quadruple-reassortant virus that contained genes from four different sources. The influenza virus consists of eight gene segments: HA, NA, matrix gene, nucleoprotein , nonstructural gene , polymerase acidic , polymerase basic 1 , and polymerase basic 2 .
In the novel influenza A virus, three gene segments came from North American swine triple-reassortant viruses. Both the PB2 and PA genes were originally avian viruses that entered North American swine, whereas PB1 originated in birds, was transferred to humans, and then made its way to North American swine. Another three genes were classical swine viruses that evolved from avian sources. Finally, the NA and matrix gene segments originated as an avian virus and subsequently entered the Eurasian swine population.2224
According to CDC estimates, between 43 million and 89 million cases of novel influenza A occurred from April 2009 to April 2010. Between 195,000 and 403,000 individuals were hospitalized, and between 8,870 and 18,300 people died. Of those patients who died, 90% had underlying medical conditions. In children and adolescents ranging from 5 to 17 years of age, hospitalization rates were two to five times higher than those usually seen with seasonal influenza.25
What Do We Mean By ‘years Of Life Lost’
Years of life lost is a way of estimating how long someone would have lived, had they not died from COVID-19. To calculate it, we use life tables. These tables tell us the life expectancy of someone at each age for example, they tell us that a man aged 80 in England or Wales could expect to live 8.2 more years, a woman 9.7. If a man aged 80 died from COVID-19 we therefore assume he has lost 8.2 years of life. By summing all these lost years we come up with an overall estimate of the total years lost due to COVID-19.
There are limitations to this method. Primarily, we have used average life expectancies at each age when we know it is likely that those who died from COVID-19 were more likely to have co-morbidities than their peers, and therefore may have had lower life expectancies. We may therefore have overestimated the number of years of life lost. However, our estimates do not include the additional deaths that occurred during the pandemic but were not directly caused by COVID-19.
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How To Protect Yourself From The Flu
If you havent already gotten your flu shot, Dr. Schaffner recommends doing it ASAP, as it takes time to build immunity. Flu season continues through May, after all. Its still not too late to get vaccinated, he says.
The following precautions can also protect you from the flu:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- If soap and water arent available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces and objects.
Methods that help prevent the spread of COVID-19, like wearing a mask when youre around people who arent in your household and practicing social distancing, can also help you prevent a cold, flu, and other respiratory illnesses. The flus impact on deaths in the U.S. may well be blunted by our behaviors in trying to avoid COVID-19, Dr. Schaffner says.
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Who Is Most At Risk
Complications from the flu can include serious conditions, like pneumonia or heart attacks and, in some cases, death. Flu causes about 12,200 hospitalizations and 3,500 deaths in Canada each year.
Some people are more vulnerable to complications and hospitalization from the flu:
- babies under 6 months old are too young to get the flu shot, but they’ll get some protection if their parent got the flu shot while they were pregnant
- children under 5 years of age, because their immune systems are developing, and their airways are small and more easily blocked
- people 65 years old and older, because their immune systems are weaker and they are more likely to have an underlying condition that increases their risk
- pregnant people, because their immune system, heart and lungs change especially later in pregnancy making them more likely to get seriously ill from the flu
- people with underlying health conditions, such as asthma, heart disease or diabetes
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How Does Flu Risk Vary Byage
As with COVID-19, most flu deaths occur among Americans aged 65 or older. As of March 19, almost 81% of people who have died from COVID-19 have been in this age group. This is within the range of a normal flu season, with older Americans making up 62% of flu deaths in the 2019-2020 season, 75% in the 2018-2019 season, and 83% in the 2017-2018 season.
The Flu Shot Is Your Best Defence
This years flu season is taking place at the same time as COVID-19. Dont take any unnecessary risks with your health. Get the flu shot as early in the season as possible.
The flu shot is recommended for everyone 6 months old and older. It is:
- available from your doctor or nurse practitioner, and at participating pharmacies and local public health units across the province
- proven to reduce the number of doctor visits, hospitalizations and deaths related to the flu
- different each year because the virus changes frequently so you need to get it every fall
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When Should Children Get Vaccinated
Influenza usually circulates during the fall and winter each year in the US, but it is impossible to tell exactly when activity will begin in a given area. Following vaccination, it takes about two weeks to become fully protected against influenza, so it is important to get immunized as soon as vaccine is available in your community. Getting the influenza vaccine anytime throughout the season continues to be beneficial. The immunity from vaccination continues to be protective throughout the fall, winter, and early spring.
Burden Estimates: Background And Results
Flu activity in the United States during the 20172018 season began to increase in November and remained at high levels for several weeks during January and February . While influenza A viruses predominated through February, and were predominant overall for the season, influenza B viruses were more commonly reported starting in March 2018. The season had high severity, with unusually high levels of outpatient flu-like illness, hospitalizations rates, and proportions of pneumonia and flu-related deaths.
CDC estimates that flu burden during the 20172018 flu season was high, with an estimated 41 million people getting sick with flu, 21 million people going to a health care provider for flu-related symptoms, 710,000 flu hospitalizations, and 52,000 deaths from flu . The number of cases of flu-related illness that occurred during 2017-2018 was the highest since the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, when an estimated 60 million people were sick with flu .
Our estimates of hospitalizations and mortality associated with the 20172018 flu season continue to demonstrate how severe flu can be. More than 43,000 hospitalizations occurred in children however, 66% of hospitalizations occurred in older adults aged 65 years. Older adults also accounted for 83% of deaths, highlighting that older adults are particularly vulnerable to severe disease with flu virus infection. An estimated 8,100 deaths occurred among working age adults , an age group that often has low flu vaccination.
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