Thursday 29 March 2018
Have you been wondering if you should bother getting vaccinated? Did you know that the influenza vaccine isnt the same every year? Or that getting vaccinated each year provides the best protection against the flu?
Read on to learn what the flu is, how the vaccine works and why you should think about getting vaccinated this year.
What Are Factors That Influence How Well Flu Vaccines Work
How well flu vaccines work can vary from season to season. Protection can vary depending on who is being vaccinated. At least two factors play an important role in determining the likelihood that vaccination will protect a person from flu illness: 1) characteristics of the person being vaccinated , and 2) how well the vaccines match the flu viruses spreading in the community. When flu vaccines are not well matched to one or more circulating influenza viruses, it is possible that vaccination may provide little or no protection from illness caused by those viruses, but still provide protection against other flu viruses that circulate during the season. When there is a good match between flu vaccines and circulating viruses, vaccination provides substantial benefits by preventing flu illness and complications.
Each flu season, researchers try to determine how well flu vaccines work as a public health intervention. Estimates of how well a flu vaccine works can vary based on study design, outcome measured, population studied and type of flu vaccine. Differences between studies must be considered when results are compared.
Sometimes I Get The Flu Despite Having Had The Flu Shot Why Should I Bother
Flu vaccination prevents illness in up to 6 in 10 healthy adults under the age of 65. Because the vaccine is not effective in absolutely every case, some people may still catch the virus after having the flu shot. But the risk of illness is still reduced.
Although most people who get the flu recover without lasting effects, the flu can be very serious in some people and may require hospitalisation. In some cases, it can even be fatal. Its not possible to predict who will be severely affected.
Vaccination against the flu both reduces your chances of getting it and the severity of the symptoms if you do. So its still important to have the shot.
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Can The Flu Shot Give Me The Flu
No. All flu vaccines used in Australia are inactivated, which means they do not contain the live flu virus so you can’t catch the flu from the vaccine.
Less than 1 in 6 people experience side effects from the flu shot that are similar to the early signs of the flu. These may include fever, tiredness and muscle aches. These side effects can start within a few hours of vaccination and sometimes last for 1 to 2 days. They usually go away on their own, once your body has developed an immune response to the vaccine, which will protect you from the flu virus.
Its important to remember that the side effects show the vaccine is triggering an immune response, which is what its designed to do.
The Spanish Flu May Have Been A Cross
The hope is that a new universal vaccine will also be able to provide protection against pandemics.
This is more than just a lofty goal: on a regular basis, an influenza virus from animals spreads to humans and creates a new worldwide flu pandemic. The most recent was the 2009 swine flu.
Bird flu and swine flu can be fatal to humans who get it, but these influenzas rarely infect other species.
But some of the worst pandemics we’ve had are due to a cross between human and animal viruses.
Both the Asian flu in the 1950s and Hong Kong flu in 1968-1970 were the result of this kind of crossover.
The Spanish Flu may also have been a mixed virus, according to the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.
These crossover viruses can occur inside an animal that is infected by both swine flu and human influenza simultaneously, as an example.
When viruses multiply inside one of the animals cells, a bit of the genetic material from both the bird flu and human influenza can end up in a new virus.
Its when you get a combination of genetic material from these different viruses that you get quite radically different viruses, says Bogen.
If this kind of mixed virus can easily infect humans and causes serious illness, it can quickly lead to a new deadly pandemic.
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How Effective Is The Nhs Flu Immunisation Programme
The flu vaccine works better in some years than others . Across all age groups including children, the flu vaccine prevented 15-52% of flu cases between 2015 – 2020 . Due to low levels of circulating influenza in the 2020-21 flu season, it has not been possible to determine vaccine effectiveness for this time period.
Protection from the flu virus varies for different age groups. In children aged 2-17, the flu vaccine prevented 66% of flu cases in 2016-17, 27% of flu cases in 2017-18, and 49% of flu cases in 2018-19. However, in the over 65 age group the inactivated flu vaccine worked less well than it did in other adults and children. In 2016-17, the data suggest that the inactivated flu vaccine did not work at all in people aged over 65, whilst in 2017-2018 it resulted in slightly better results in that age group. Due to the lower effectiveness of the inactivated flu vaccine in older people, a vaccine containing an adjuvant was introduced for the 2018-19 season. This is a substance that strengthens and lengthens the immune response to the vaccine and resulted in better prevention of flu in people aged 65 or over in flu seasons since 2018-19. The adjuvanted vaccine is still recommended for this age group in the 2022-23 season.
It is not understood why flu vaccines do not work so well in older adults. However, this reinforces the importance of vaccinating children and healthcare workers, both of whom can help to stop the spread of flu to older adults.
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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Have There Been Any Recent Updates To The Way Flu Vaccines Are Developed
Tran: Before the pandemic began, the government already was trying to develop a universal flu vaccine that would work on many different influenza strains. It’s an exciting time in the development of vaccines. Because of the pandemic, scientists are finding new ways to develop vaccines more efficiently, which will help us in the future.
Spikes On The Surface
But to make this all the more confusing, measles also has genetic material that is composed of unstable RNA.
Nevertheless, we have good vaccines for this disease.
So to really understand what’s so special about the flu virus, we need to look at the outside of the virus capsule that surrounds the viruss genetic material.
The capsule has proteins that act like spikes, and enable it to attach to our cells. And flu viruses are very flexible compared to other viruses.
“The influenza virus can withstand many more changes in the proteins that are on its surface than other cells,” explains Hungnes.
In other words, the proteins on the capsule surface can change when the genetic material mutates, but they will still work. That enables them escape detection by our immune system, which has learned to recognize an old variant of the spikes.
The corresponding spikes on the outside of the measles virus, on the other hand, wont function if there is a mutation.
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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 infection with the viruses that are used to make the vaccine.
The seasonal flu vaccine protects against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. Most flu vaccines in the United States protect against four different flu viruses an influenza A virus, an influenza A virus, and two influenza B viruses. There are also some flu vaccines that protect against three different flu viruses an influenza A virus, an influenza A virus, and one influenza B virus. Two of the trivalent vaccines are designed specifically for people 65 and older to create a stronger immune response.
Why Do You Need An Annual Flu Shot
Unlike some other vaccines that have a longer protection period, flu shots are required every year to ensure proper protection. Your immune response and protection from vaccination will weaken over time, so a yearly vaccine for a common virus is the best choice to protect yourself. Plus, flu viruses change all the time, and vaccines are often updated to better protect against upcoming viruses. If you want the best protection for you and your family, then you should prioritize flu shots every year.
If you want to get a flu shot, you can head to an urgent care near you in Suwanee, GA. Visit the trusted team at Gwinnett Urgent Care to take care of your flu shots and answer any questions you have about the flu.
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Does A Flu Vaccine Increase Your Risk Of Getting Covid
There is no evidence that getting a flu vaccine increases your risk of getting sick from a coronavirus, like the one that causes COVID-19.
You may have heard about a study published in January 2020 that reported an association between flu vaccination and the risk of four commonly circulating seasonal coronaviruses, but not the one that causes COVID-19. This report was later found to be incorrect.
The results from that initial study led researchers in Canada to look at their data to see if they could find similar results in their population. The results from Canadas study showed that flu vaccination did not increase the risk for these seasonal coronaviruses. The Canadian findings highlighted the protective benefits of flu vaccination.
The Canadian researchers also identified a flaw in the methods of the first study, noting that it violated the part of the study design that compares vaccination rates among patients with and without flu . This flaw led to the incorrect association between flu vaccination and seasonal coronavirus risk. When these researchers reexamined data from the first study using the correct methods, they found that flu vaccination did not increase the risk for infection with other respiratory viruses, including seasonal coronaviruses.
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 isn’t 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
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Key Facts About Seasonal Flu Vaccine
On June 30, 2022, CDC announced that Director Rochelle P. Walensky adopted the Decision memo approving the ACIP vote for a preferential recommendation for the use of higher dose or adjuvanted flu vaccines over standard-dose unadjuvanted flu vaccines for adults 65 years and older. CDCs full recommendations for the use of flu vaccines during 2022-2023 will appear in a forthcoming Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Edits to this page are also forthcoming. More information can be found online: CDC Director Adopts Preference for Specific Flu Vaccines for Seniors
Note: Prevention and Control of Seasonal Influenza with Vaccines: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices United States, 2021-2022 Influenza Season has been . More information on the 2021-2022 season is also available.
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, a quadrivalent inactivated influenza vaccine which also uses an adjuvant is being offered to people aged over 65. Side effects usually last 1-3 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.
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Viruses From Patients In Kansas And Phuket
Bogen is one of many scientists around the world who is working on a universal flu vaccine. This vaccine would last a lifetime, as opposed to today’s vaccine, which has to be given anew every year.
But to achieve this, the vaccine must be prepared in a completely different way than today.
Today’s flu vaccine is the result of a painstaking international collaboration between the authorities and pharmaceutical companies.
Vaccines contain killed viruses from ordinary patients from around the world. The vaccine for the 2019/2020 flu season contains viruses that originally came from four patients, one in Brisbane, one in Kansas, one in Colorado and one in Phuket.
These particular patients were chosen because they had the kinds of characteristics that researchers want from viruses that theyll then turn into vaccines.
The job of the researchers is to predict which virus strains they think will infect most people during the coming flu season.
Every season we have to make the best assessment of which virus strains are emerging and which can be a good candidate for creating a vaccine, says Hungnes.
The Norwegian Institute of Public Health keeps track of which influenza viruses are infecting people in Norway. Hungnes himself has twice participated in the international meetings organized by the WHO, where it is decided which viruses should be part of the coming season’s influenza vaccine.
When Should You Get The Flu Vaccine
The CDC recommends that people get a flu vaccine by the end of October. Getting vaccinated later, however, can still be beneficial even into January or later. Children who need two doses of vaccine to be protected should start the vaccination process sooner, because the two doses must be given at least four weeks apart.
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Besides Vaccination How Can People Protect Themselves Against The Flu
Getting a flu vaccine each year is the best way to prevent the flu. In addition to getting the flu shot, people should take the same everyday preventive actions to prevent the spread of flu, including covering coughs, washing hands often, and avoiding people who are sick. Antiviral drugs are an important second line of defense to treat the flu. These drugs are not a substitute for vaccination and must be prescribed by a health care provider.
Factors In Flu Shot Effectiveness
Influenza viruses are constantly changing and evolving rapidly. Circulating influenza viruses can mutate from one season to the next.
Researchers need to select the specific influenza viruses to include in the vaccine many months before flu season begins. This means whats in the vaccine may not always match whats actually circulating during flu season. This can decrease the effectiveness of the seasonal flu vaccine.
Age can also play a role in vaccine efficacy because your immune system tends to become weaker as you age. The Food and Drug Administration has approved a high-dose flu vaccine for people 65 and older.
The higher dose is aimed at providing a better immune response and therefore better protection within this age group. for those over 65 with the high-dose vaccine.
The CDC also recommends that some children between the ages of 6 months and 8 years receive two doses of the influenza vaccine during the first season in which theyre vaccinated in order to have sufficient protection.
Its still possible to get the flu after being vaccinated, but research has shown that the illness may be less severe and that people who receive a flu shot may be less likely to be admitted to the hospital if they get the flu.
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How Is The Flu Vaccine Made
In February and September each year, The World Health Organization holds a conference with leading experts and influenza centres from around the world to make recommendations about the composition of the next seasons flu vaccine.
They look at all the current information about influenza, including the recent patterns of flu epidemics across the world, to decide which strains of flu are likely to be most common in the next flu season. Vaccines are created to protect against these strains, usually containing three or four strain vaccines.
For countries in the Southern Hemisphere, like Australia, the information from the September conference helps them plan for flu vaccines for the following winter. After the conference, the Australian Influenza Vaccine Committee meet with the Therapeutic Goods Administration to confirm which strains will be included in the Australian flu vaccines. The vaccine funded for the National Immunisation Program in Australia contains the two strains of Influenza A most commonly circulating and the two Influenza B strains.
These vaccines then need to be made. Its a long and time consuming process, with large amounts of each virus strain needing to be created to make enough vaccine doses.