The Best Flu Vaccine If Youre Scared Of Needles
While most people use the terms flu vaccine and flu shot interchangeably, not all flu vaccines use a needle to deliver the ingredients.
FluMist Quadrivalent is a nasal spray vaccine. However, its not the right choice for some people. This vaccine is only FDA-approved for people between ages 2 and 49. FluMist Quadrivalent is also a live attenuated vaccine, meaning it contains weakened versions of the flu viruses instead of inactivated viruses. People who are pregnant and those with certain health problems such as a weakened immune system shouldnt receive it.
What Is The Flu Vaccine
The influenza vaccine is used to prevent infection caused by the influenza virus. The flu can cause serious illness, especially in young children, older adults and people with chronic health problems, but anyone can become seriously ill from the flu virus. Even if you are not feeling sick, you could still be infected with the flu virus and pass it on to others. Read more about the flu.Vaccination is the best way to prevent infection and reduce the seriousness of illness if you become infected. It will greatly improve your chances of not getting the flu, but it does not give 100% protection.
Being vaccinated causes your body to produce antibodies against the flu virus. This means your body can respond faster and more effectively to the flu. By first coming across a non-infectious version of the virus in the vaccine, it learns to recognise it. When it comes across it again, your body can react much faster and in a more effective way.
Even if you get the flu after being vaccinated, you usually get a mild form of it and recover faster, and are less likely to have serious complications.
Flu Vaccines For Older Adults
Flu short for influenza is a virus that can cause fever, chills, sore throat, stuffy nose, headache, and muscle aches. Flu is very serious when it gets in your lungs. Older adults are at a higher risk for developing serious complications from the flu, such as pneumonia.
The flu is easy to pass from person to person. The virus also changes over time, which means you can get it again. To ensure flu vaccines remain effective, the vaccine is updated every year.
Everyone age 6 months and older should get an annual flu vaccine, but the protection from a flu vaccine can lessen with time, especially in older adults. Still, you are less likely to become seriously ill or hospitalized because of the flu if you get the vaccine. A flu vaccine is especially important if you have a chronic health condition such as heart disease or diabetes.
You should get your vaccine ideally by the end of October each year so you are protected when the flu season starts. It takes at least two weeks for the vaccine to be effective. However, if you have not received your flu vaccine by the end of October, its not too late as flu season typically peaks in December or January. As long as the flu virus is spreading, getting vaccinated will help protect you.
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More Findings From Older Adults Polled About Both Flu Shots And Covid Vaccines
Last years flu shot:
In all, 54% of people between the ages of 50 and 64 say they got a flu shot last year, much lower than the 83% of those over 65 who said they did.
There werent major differences in 2020 flu shots by gender, race/ethnicity, income or living situation, but there were based on political party identification. Those living in the South were also less likely that those in other regions to have had a flu shot in 2020.
This years flu shot:
Sixty-four percent of people between the ages of 50 and 64 say theyve already gotten their flu shot this year or theyre likely to, while 86% of those over 65 say they already have or are likely to.
Those over 65 were nearly twice as likely as those aged 50 to 64 to have already gotten their flu shot by the time the poll was taken in mid-October .
Most of respondents who identified as Democrats said they had already had a flu shot or planned to get one, compared with 67% of Republications and 60% of independents.
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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Where Can I Get Vaccinated
People eligible for a free flu vaccineEligible people can get a free vaccination from their family doctor/general practice. It is usually the practice nurse who gives the vaccine. Many community pharmacies provide free flu vaccinations to people aged 13 years and older and pregnant women . People who are not eligible to receive a free flu vaccineThe flu vaccination is available from:
- your family doctor/general practice
What If The High
Manufacturers have increased flu shot production to meet the high demand for the 2020-2021 season. According to the CDC, between 188 million and 200 million doses will be distributed. All vaccines will be quadrivalent , most will be thimerosal-free or thimerosal-reduced vaccines and about 18% of flu vaccines will be free of eggs.
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What Are Some Side Effects Of Getting A Vaccine
Common side effects for all these vaccines are mild and may include pain, swelling, or redness where the vaccine was given.
Before getting any vaccine, talk with your doctor about your health history, including past illnesses and treatments, as well as any allergies.
It’s a good idea to keep your own vaccination record, listing the types and dates of your shots, along with any side effects or problems.
Will Everyone Be Eligible For A Fourth Covid Vaccine Dose Eventually
Scientists in Germany, the UK and other countries are considering fourth shots of a COVID-19 vaccine for the general public.In January, health ministers in European Union countries were told to prepare for fourth doses as soon as data indicates they are needed, according to Reuters.
This year, Israel started offering fourth booster shots to citizens 60 and older before expanding to all vulnerable adults, and Denmark authorized fourth doses for at-risk communities.
Pfizer chief scientific officer Mikael Dolsten, seen here in 2017, says a fourth vaccine dose is “very likely.”
“With the data now coming for the omicron variant, it is very clear our vaccine for the omicron variant should be a three-dose vaccine,” Ugur Sahin, CEO of BioNTech, which makes a vaccine in partnership with Pfizer, said in a statement.
If three doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine are needed to protect against omicron, the timeline for a fourth shot could be pushed up to as early as March, Pfizer executives said.
“I think it is very likely that we will need a fourth booster, possibly already this spring, particularly if omicron continues to dominate,” Mikael Dolsten, Pfizer’s chief scientific officer, told CBS News.
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What Is The Senior Flu Shot
The senior flu shot is a vaccine developed specifically for adults age 65 and older to protect them against the flu virus. According to the CDC, seniors need stronger protection because immune systems tend to weaken with age, putting older adults at an increased risk of serious flu-related complications, such as pneumonia, other respiratory problems, hospitalizations, and even death. The flu can also worsen chronic conditions that are common in seniors like diabetes, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
The senior flu shot creates a stronger immune response that helps older adults immune systems fight the flu virus more effectively than the regular flu shot. The vaccine works by stimulating the production of antibodies that protect seniors against the virus.
While older adults may get any flu vaccine approved for their age group, two flu vaccines were developed specifically for seniors: the high-dose flu vaccine and the adjuvanted flu vaccine.
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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Where To Get A Flu Shot: Find A Local Clinic
Flu shots are available in many convenient locations, like major drugstores, health clinics, and doctors offices.
That makes getting a flu shot quick and easy most of these locations dont even require an appointment, you can walk in anytime.
This year, the nationwide online vaccine finder has been dedicated to locating Covid-19 vaccines.
To find a flu shot near you, contact your doctors office or use online flu vaccine finders from major drugstore pharmacies including:
Covid Vaccination: Past Present And Future
The National Poll on Healthy Aging has asked older adults about their plans to get vaccinated against COVID twice before, in October 2020 before any vaccines received emergency use authorization, and in January 2021 once vaccination had begun.
Now, the new poll gives an indication of how many have actually gotten the COVID vaccine, though the methodology and sample size for the new poll is slightly different, and the sample includes a small subset of people up to age 95, instead of age 80 as in the previous two polls.
While Im encouraged that most older adults are seeking this protection against two viruses that can make them seriously ill, these data show we need to do a better job of helping some people, including those in their 50s and early 60s, understand that these vaccines can really protect them, their families and their communities, said Preeti Malani, M.D., the polls director and an infectious disease physician at Michigan Medicine who also has training in geriatrics.
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Which Vaccine Should I Get
The two vaccines have not been compared head to head, so it isn’t known which one is better. The available data suggest they are similar to each other.
In practice, what vaccine you’ll receive will depend on what’s available at your GP or pharmacy.
It is important to note these vaccines are only recommended for use in people 65 years of age or older, and are not recommended for use in people under this age.
The standard vaccine will still be available for younger people. There are no data to support the use of multiple doses of vaccines of the same or different types.
Neither of the new vaccines is perfect they simply reduce your risk of getting flu to a slightly greater effect than the standard vaccine. Like other flu vaccines, there is still the chance the vaccine strains don’t match what’s circulating.
Despite the common perception the flu is a mild illness, it causes a significant number of deaths worldwide.
Allen Cheng is professor in infectious disease epidemiology at Monash University.
What’s In This Year’s Flu Vaccines
The composition of the 2021-2022 flu shot will be different from last season’s flu shot. Specifically, the two influenza A components of the flu shot differ from those in last year’s shot. In addition, all flu shots for the 2021-2022 season will be quadrivalent, meaning they will contain four strains of flu viruses.
According to the CDC, the 2021-2022 quadrivalent egg-based flu shot will contain the following strains of the flu virus:
- A/Victoria/2570/2019 pdm09-like virus This H1N1 component differs from last year’s flu shot.
- A/Cambodia/e0826360/2020 -like virus This is the H3N2 component that is different from last year’s flu shot.
- B/Washington/02/2019- like virus This influenza B strain component is the same as the one in last year’s shot.
- B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus This influenza B strain component was also in last year’s shot.
Then, there are two types of flu vaccines that dont involve eggs: cell-based and recombinant-based flu vaccines. In cell-based flu vaccines, the inactivated flu virus is grown in cultured cells from mammals rather than in hens eggs. And recombinant flu vaccines are created synthetically. To make this type of vaccine, scientists combine a lab-made antigen specific to the flu virus with a baculovirus .
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Who Should Not Get The Vaccine
You should not get the flu vaccine if you:
- have had a severe allergic reaction to a previous flu vaccine or any part of the vaccine
- are taking medicines called combination checkpoint inhibitors, for example, ipilimumab plus nivolumab
- have severe neutropoenia, which is low levels of a type of white blood cell
- are ill with a temperature greater than 38 degrees Celsius – wait until you are well before getting the vaccine
If you have an egg allergy, talk to your GP before getting the vaccine. Most people with an egg allergy can get the flu vaccine.
What You Need To Know About The 2021
While no one knows for sure just how bad the upcoming flu season will be, heres some flu information we know so far:
The 2020-2021 flu season wasunusually mildcompared to whats been seen in past years. This could be due to multiple factors, including higher flu vaccination rates during 2020 and the effect the COVID-19 pandemic has had on social distancing and hand washing. Experts are not sure if this will be the case again for the 2021-2022 flu season.
Flu transmission rates in other countries are lower than usual so far this year. The World Health Organization meets twice a year in February and September to review flu activity around the world and recommend which strains to include in the flu vaccine. Flu transmission in the Southern Hemisphere countries like Australia can help predict what the U.S. flu season might be like. Australia had a record low number of cases of the flu during 2021. Hopefully, that means we will too.
Even though the flu vaccine doesnt protect against all strains of the flu, its still recommended for everyone over the age of 6 months. The flu vaccine is typically about 40% to 60% effective, and its hard to predict if the current flu vaccines will be a good match for the strains going around. But its still one of the best ways to help prevent getting sick with the flu.
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Who Should Get A High
Flu vaccines for seniors are only approved for individuals over the age of 65. It is not recommended for those with a history of severe allergic reaction to the flu shot or to other vaccine ingredients. If you are concerned about which flu vaccine is right for you, speak with your primary care physician.
A New Tool In The Fight Against Flu
Ageing can make people more vulnerable to catching influenza and can reduce the bodys immune response to flu vaccinations. The adjuvant added to aQIV is designed to boost the immune response in older adults and to help compensate for this effect.
Dr Raja Rajaram, Head of Medical Affairs, Europe, said: In these times, even more than in most, its important to have age-appropriate vaccines to help protect against influenza.
We know that people who get vaccinated are less likely to become ill with influenza. This will potentially help to keep pressure off health systems during continuing concern over COVID-19. As a company, we are very focussed on developing vaccines that offer better protection for people who are particularly vulnerable to influenza. We are delighted to be able to bring this vaccine to Europe, which offers healthcare professionals an additional tool on the front line of influenza prevention.
The new vaccine will be manufactured in Liverpool, UK, by one of Europes largest flu vaccine producers, Seqirus, and the approval for marketing authorisation means the vaccine will be available for use by 2021/22.
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Myth #: It Contains Thimerosal Which May Be Harmful
Thimerosal a preservative that contains mercury has never been shown to be harmful, Cunningham said. The type of mercury linked with nervous system damage is methyl mercury, he said. Concerns over levels of methyl have led to recommendations that pregnant women avoid eating large amounts of certain types of fish, such as swordfish.
In contrast, thimerosal is an ethyl mercury compound.
Still, because the preservative raised controversy, especially over a now-disproven link to autism, it was taken out of almost all U.S. vaccines starting in 2001, Cunningham said.
The injectable form of the flu vaccine is available to health care providers as large, multidose bottles and small vials carrying individual doses. A tiny amount of thimerosal is added to the multidose bottles to ensure that no bacteria will grow in the vaccine, Cunningham said. The individual-dose bottles contain no thimerosal.
The nasal spray form of the flu vaccine also contains no thimerosal, he noted.