Rare Side Effects Of The Flu 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 or medical surgery 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 influenza vaccine, if at all.
If any other reactions are severe and persistent, or if you are worried, contact your doctor for further information.
Why Should People Get Vaccinated Against Flu
Influenza is a potentially serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Every flu season is different, and flu can affect people differently, but millions of people get flu every year, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized and thousands to tens of thousands of people die from flu-related causes every year. Flu can mean a few days of feeling bad and missing work or it can result in more serious illness. Complications of flu can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes. An annual seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to help protect against flu. Vaccination has been shown to have many benefits including reducing the risk of flu illnesses, hospitalizations and even the risk of flu-related death in children. While some people who get a flu vaccine may still get sick, flu vaccination has been shown in several studies to reduce severity of illness.
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.
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Where To Get The Flu Vaccine
You can have the NHS flu vaccine at:
- your GP surgery
- a pharmacy offering the service
- your midwifery service if you’re pregnant
- a hospital appointment
If you do not have your flu vaccine at your GP surgery, you do not have to tell the surgery. This will be done for you.
It’s important to go to your vaccination appointments unless you have symptoms of COVID-19.
What Is The Best Time To Get A Flu Shot
The best time to get a flu shot is before flu season begins. In most areas of the U.S., flu season is from October through May, with peak activity during December through February. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people get their flu shot by the end of . It takes 2 weeks for the immune system to fully respond to a vaccine. Its important to plan accordingly and get the vaccine before an increase in flu activity starts in a community.
In some communities, its best to get a flu shot in September or early October. Most healthcare providers and pharmacies will begin offering flu shots as early as July and August. Early vaccination is meant for children and individuals who need two flu shots in a season. For people who only need one vaccine, early vaccination is not recommended because the immune response will decrease over time and may not last to the end of the flu season.
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The Nasal Vaccine Contains Gelatine Derived From Pigs
The nasal vaccine contains a highly processed form of gelatine , which is used in a range of many essential medicines. The gelatine helps to keep the vaccine viruses stable so that the vaccine provides the best protection against flu.
The nasal vaccine is offered to children as it is more effective in the programme than the injected vaccine. This is because it is easier to administer and considered better at reducing the spread of flu to others, who may be more vulnerable to the complications of flu.
However, if your child is at high risk from flu due to one or more medical conditions or treatments and cant have the nasal flu vaccine they should have the flu vaccine by injection.
For those who may not accept the use of porcine gelatine in medical products, an alternative injectable vaccine is available this year. You should discuss your options with your nurse or doctor.
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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Why Do I Need A Flu Vaccine Every Year
A flu vaccine is needed every season for two reasons. First, a persons immune protection from vaccination declines over time, so an annual vaccine is needed for optimal protection. Second, because flu viruses are constantly changing, flu vaccines may be updated from one season to the next to protect against the viruses that research suggests may be most common during the upcoming flu season. For the best protection, everyone 6 months and older should get vaccinated annually.
Why Are The Strains Included In The Egg
The method of manufacture differs for egg-based influenza vaccines and cell-based influenza vaccines. This can impact the ability to produce the same strains of virus for both platforms. In cases where it is not possible to produce the same strains, strains with similar properties are selected.
The recommendation for which strains should be included in influenza vaccines is made by the World Health Organizations Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System based on epidemiological data, genetic characteristics of the virus, antiviral resistance, vaccine effectiveness and the availability of candidate vaccine viruses.
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When To Get Vaccinations Against Viral Causes Of Meningitis
Unfortunately, there isnt a vaccine for the most common cause of viral meningitis called non-polio enteroviruses. In rare cases, other kinds of viral infections can lead to meningitis. These viral infections have vaccines that are available in the U.S. They include:
The vaccinations for these infections all have their own schedule for when you should get them the most frequent being your yearly flu shot. Measles and mumps vaccinations are first completed around the age of six then need to be updated in adolescence and adulthood. Talk to your doctor to make sure that youre up-to-date with your vaccinations.
Flu Vaccine And Coronavirus
Flu vaccination is important because:
- more people are likely to get flu this winter as fewer people will have built up natural immunity to it during the COVID-19 pandemic
- if you get flu and COVID-19 at the same time, research shows you’re more likely to be seriously ill
- getting vaccinated against flu and COVID-19 will provide protection for you and those around you for both these serious illnesses
If you’ve had COVID-19, it’s safe to have the flu vaccine. It will still be effective at helping to prevent flu.
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Can I Get My Flu Shot And A Covid
Yes, people can now receive a COVID-19 vaccine and the flu shot during the same visit, says the CDC.
Previously, the CDC had recommended getting your COVID-19 shot at least two weeks before or after any other vaccinations. But that guideline was made out an abundance of caution when the COVID-19 vaccines were new, says the agency. Spacing out the vaccines is no longer considered necessary.
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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Why Do We Need A Flu Vax Each Year
There are four types of influenza viruses: A, B, C or D. Types A and B cause severe disease in humans, and each year the seasonal flu vaccine protects against two A and two B strains.
The four types are related to the presence of specific proteins on the surface of the virus. These surface proteins arent stable and often mutate, or change.
When the body encounters these changes, the immune system cannot be activated.
So although the person may have been vaccinated against or infected by a old version of the viral strain, the body wont easily recognise and neutralise the new strain.
Due to these continuous changes, the World Health Organization reviews and updates its recommendations for the composition of the vaccine annually. It selects the viruses most likely to circulate in the coming season.
The Australian Influenza Vaccine Committee uses this recommendation to determine the composition of influenza vaccines for use in Australia.
Our 2022 seasonal flu vaccine protects against:
- an A/Victoria/2570/2019 pdm09-like virus
- a B/Austria/1359417/2021-like virus
- a B/Phuket/3073/2013 -like virus.
However, some vaccines protect against three strains rather than four .
While its generally better to get the four-strain vaccine, the success of the vaccine depends on whether it matches the strain or strains dominating that season.
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
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What Is The Difference Between Egg
Traditional influenza vaccines are made by cultivating influenza viruses in chicken eggs. Cell-based influenza vaccines are made by growing influenza viruses in animal cells lines . By using a cell-based platform, influenza vaccines have the potential to provide protection against influenza strains that are more closely matched to the circulating influenza strains in the community.
Cell-based influenza vaccines have been used internationally since 2012 and in 2021 a cell-based influenza has been registered for use within Australia for the first time. Flucelvax quad® is available for private purchase for immunisation of those aged 9 years.
Expected side effects from cell-based influenza vaccines are consistent to the side effects expected from traditional egg-based influenza vaccines. The most commonly reported symptoms are local injection site reactions, including pain and redness.
Flu Shot Timing: What’s Optimal
Aug. 30, 2021 — Amid fresh national recommendations for COVID booster shots to ramp up waning immunity, new research examining the durability of flu vaccination indicates significantly dwindling protection just months after inoculation.
Maximum influenza vaccine efficacy in adults occurred shortly after vaccination, followed by an average decline of 8% to 9% each month and an even swifter drop among older adults.
Even a 1- or 2-month delay in annual flu vaccination could improve vaccine effectiveness by 10% to 20%, according to the study, published August 15 in Clinical Infectious Diseases.
Analyzing vaccine timing relative to influenza-associated hospitalizations among more than 5500 adults, the findings are broadly consistent with both early and more recent studies, says study author Jill Ferdinands, PhD, an epidemiologist in the Influenza Division of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the CDC.
“These findings are not surprising,” Ferdinands tells Medscape Medical News. “In the very first successful trial of inactivated influenza vaccine in 1943, the study’s authors observed that antibodies to influenza declined by about one third within 4 to 5 months after vaccination.”
But “a better understanding of waning immunity, like the information gained by this study, could help further optimize the recommendation,” she says.
He says the COVID pandemic might prove to “actually be a shot in the arm for influenza vaccine research.”
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Safety And Side Effects
The inactivated flu vaccine does not contain the live virus and cannot cause flu. Flu vaccines have a very good safety record. The most commonly reported side effects of flu vaccines are:
- pain, swelling, bruising, hardness or redness at the injection site
- slightly raised temperature
- feeling generally unwell
A higher rate of these common side effects has been reported with Fluad, an adjuvanted trivalent vaccine which was recommended for people aged 65 and over in previous years. This year, Fluad Tetra is being offered to people aged over 65, which also uses an adjuvant. Side effects usually last 1-2 days.
There are several different makes of flu vaccine available each year. For more information on side effects, ask for the Patient Information Leaflet for the vaccine you are offered. Additional information about vaccine side effects, anaphylaxis and adverse reactions can be found here.
How The Flu Vaccine Works
Development of the seasonal flu vaccine actually begins many months ahead of flu season. The viruses used in the vaccine are based on extensive research and surveillance into which strains will be most common during the upcoming season.
The trivalent vaccine protects against three flu viruses: two influenza A viruses and an influenza B virus.
The quadrivalent vaccine protects against the same three viruses as the trivalent vaccine, but it also includes an additional influenza B virus.
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Ive Heard Some Things That Make Me Hesitate About Getting A Flu Shot Like Getting A Flu Shot Can Give You The Flu Should I Worry
Most years only about half of Americans get flu shots, notes Chen. The most common reason that I hear about why people dont want a flu shot is that they got a flu shot once and got the flu afterward, he says. Let me be clear: Flu shots do not give you the flu.
There are a few reasons why someone might feel like theyve gotten sick because of the shot.
Some people may experience flu symptoms after being vaccinated because they become ill from different respiratory viruses such as rhinoviruses, which are associated with the common cold, he says.
Its also possible to become ill with the flu shortly after being vaccinated because it takes up to two weeks for the body to develop immune protection after the shot, notes the CDC.
Flu vaccines do vary in how well they work, so its also possible for people who are vaccinated to still get sick. Even if that happens, however, research shows that the vaccine can still help by reducing the severity of the flu in people who got the flu in spite of having been vaccinated.
One study published in the journal Vaccine, for example, found that among adults hospitalized in New Zealand from 2012 to 2015 with the flu, vaccinated patients were 59 percent less likely to be admitted to the ICU than those who had not been vaccinated.
The people who did end up in the ICU with the flu spent an average of four fewer days in the hospital if they had received the flu shot compared with those who didnt.