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.
Pros And Cons For Babies And Toddlers
Younger children are at a higher risk of severe illness from the flu. According to a study in Pediatrics, flu shots significantly reduce the risk of death from the flu in those between the ages of 5 and 12 years.
A downside is that the shot might cause discomfort in very young children. For example, there might be some pain and swelling at the injection site.
Less commonly, fever and aches might occur receiving their first flu vaccine.
To protect children, the people around them should also receive flu shots.
Senior Flu Shot Side Effects
The senior flu shot is considered safe, but it may cause mild side effects related to inflammation and the bodys immune response. During the week after getting the vaccine, seniors may experience the following symptoms:
- Soreness, tenderness, redness, or swelling at the injection site
- Headache or muscle aches
According to the CDC, you should check with the doctor before getting your loved one a senior flu shot if they have one of the following conditions or reactions:
- An allergy to any of the vaccine ingredients, other than eggs
- A serious auto-immune disorder, e.g., Guillain-Barre syndrome
- A fever
- An allergic reaction to the flu shot in the past
Recommended Reading: What Does The Flu Shot Do
Are The New Vaccines Safe
Both vaccines are safe, but commonly cause mild side-effects, and very rarely can cause serious side-effects. However, these risks from the vaccine are less than from getting influenza infection.
The main side-effect of vaccines relates to their effect in stimulating the immune system.
In many people they cause a sore arm and, less commonly, a fever. The side-effects of these new flu vaccines are slightly more common than with standard vaccines.
Generally, these side-effects are mild and don’t last long.
None of the flu vaccines used in Australia contains live virus and therefore can’t cause flu infection. However, the vaccination season usually occurs around the same time as when another respiratory virus circulates, so this respiratory infection is commonly misattributed to vaccination.
Rare but serious side-effects, such as Guillain Barre Syndrome , have been described after flu vaccination.
Studies suggest the risk of these side-effects are less common after the flu vaccine than after flu infection.
People with allergies should discuss flu vaccines with their doctor. In the past, there has been concern the flu vaccines, which are manufactured in eggs, may elicit allergic reactions in people with egg allergy.
However, it is now thought people with egg allergies can receive flu vaccines safely under appropriate supervision.
In 2009, an adjuvanted vaccine was thought to be implicated in cases of narcolepsy in Europe.
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.
You May Like: Cvs Nighttime Cold And Flu Dosage
Understanding The Side Effects Of The Flu Vaccine
The flu shot is the recommended vaccine for anyone over the age of 6 months wishing to protect themselves from the flu virus. While flu shots are one of the safest medical products, there are still some side effects associated with the vaccine. Most side effects are mild and short-term, but there is a small chance for more severe reactions.
Which Flu Vaccine Is The Most Effective
When flu vaccines are being produced, the strains included are standardized by the FDA. Each 2021-2022 vaccine includes:
Two type B viruses
This means that no matter what vaccine you choose, youre being protected against the same strains. Flu vaccines are typically between 40% and 60% effective from year to year. But when it comes to picking the right flu vaccine for you, you have to take other factors into account.
You May Like: What Does The Flu Affect
When To Get The Influenza Vaccine
New season influenza vaccines under the NIP are expected to be available from April. Timing may be different for your local area. Check with your immunisation provider to find out when they will have the vaccine available and when you will be able to book in to have the vaccine.
Annual influenza vaccine should occur anytime from April onwards to be protected for the peak flu season, which is generally June to September. The highest level of protection occurs in the first 3 to 4 months following vaccination.
However, it is never too late to vaccinate since influenza can circulate in the community all year round.
Pregnant women should receive the vaccine at any stage during pregnancy.
Influenza vaccines can be given on the same day with a COVID-19 vaccine.
/2022 Universal Influenza Immunization Program
The following provides information about the Ontario Ministry of Health Universal Influenza Immunization Program for the 2021/2022 influenza season. The UIIP offers influenza vaccine free of charge each year to all individuals six months of age and older who live, work or go to school in Ontario.
Vaccination against influenza will be important this fall given the potential for the co-circulation of COVID-19. Preventing the flu will be important not only to protect individual health and the health of families and communities, but also to protect and mitigate impacts on our health care system.
Don’t Miss: Fun Facts About The Flu
What Vaccines Are Available For The 2021
There are nine vaccines that have been approved and released by the FDA for the 2021-2022 flu season. This year, all FDA-approved flu vaccines are quadrivalent meaning they protect against four different strains of influenza . Heres a rundown of the available flu vaccines for the year.
Its important to note that pharmacies and healthcare providers may only carry a few brands of flu vaccine not all nine that are FDA-approved. If you are interested in or know you need a certain flu vaccine, its best to call ahead and see if your preferred vaccine is available.
Headache And Other Aches And Pains
After your shot, you might have headaches or some achiness and pain in the muscles throughout your body. This also usually happens on the first day and goes away within two days. Taking pain relievers can help ease your discomfort.
Its controversial whether its safe to take acetaminophen or ibuprofen to treat these vaccine side effects.
Some research suggests that these medications might change or decrease how your body responds to the vaccine. One study involving children found that taking acetaminophen or ibuprofen didnt reduce the bodys response to the flu vaccine.
Other research is mixed. Its still unclear whether these medications should be avoided.
What’s Flu Activity Like This Season
Currently, flu activity remains low in most of the U.S. As of Oct. 2, 2021, all states were reporting minimal or low flu activity except for Mississippi, which reported moderate flu activity, according to the CDC.
But that could change soon after the country experienced historically low levels of flu during the 2020-2021 season , several studies have predicted that the flu could come roaring back this fall and winter, Live Science previously reported.
That’s because the U.S. population “missed the opportunity to establish or boost their immunity ” last season, which raises the concern that the flu could make a comeback as preventive measures for COVID-19 are lifted, according to the authors of a recent study on predicting flu activity, posted Aug. 30 to the preprint database medrXiv.
Even if flu activity is currently low in your community, you shouldn’t wait to get your flu shot. Flu activity could begin to increase at any time, and it takes about two weeks for people to develop antibodies against flu viruses after receiving their shot, the CDC says.
Can Seniors Get A Covid
COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots may cause side effects similar to senior flu shots. It is still unknown whether coadministration of these vaccines leads to more reactivity to ingredients, sensitivity, or side effects, according to the CDC.
If youve received or are planning to receive a COVID-19 vaccine or booster along with a senior flu shot, heres what you need to know:
- After at least six months of receiving the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, you are eligible for a booster shot.
- If you received Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines, you are currently not eligible for a booster shot.
- The Pfizer-BioNTech booster shot has been authorized for people 65 and older and for high-risk individuals.
- Getting the senior flu shot will not offer protection against COVID-19 and vice versa.
- COVID-19 vaccines may be administered with flu vaccines, although it is still unknown whether vaccine side effects increase with coadministration, according to the CDC.
You should first consult your loved ones doctor to figure out what could work best for them.
You May Like: Does Caresource Cover Flu Shots
How Serious Is Influenza
Influenza reduces the body’s ability to fight other infections. Bacterial pneumonia, which is an infection of the lungs, is the most common complication from influenza, especially in elderly people. Influenza can also lead to more complications for people who have heart, lung or other health conditions. These complications can sometimes be fatal.
Reaction At The Injection Site
The most common side effect of the flu shot is a reaction at the injection site, which is typically on the upper arm. After the shot is given, you may have soreness, redness, warmth, and in some cases, slight swelling. These effects usually last less than two days.
To help reduce discomfort, try taking some ibuprofen before getting your shot.
Read Also: Kaiser Campbell Flu Shots Schedule
What Are The Possible Side Effects
Most people have no problems from the vaccine.
If you get the flu shot, you might have a mild fever and feel tired or achy afterward. Some people also have soreness, redness, or swelling where they got their shot. These problems arenât serious and donât last long.
Serious side effects are rare. If they do happen, it’s within a few minutes to a few hours after you get the shot. Call your doctor right away if you have trouble breathing, hives, feel weak or dizzy, or have a fast heartbeat afterward.
If you get the nasal spray, you might have side effects like a runny nose, headache, cough, and sore throat. These are milder and shorter than the flu.
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.
Also Check: Is Publix Giving $10 For Flu Shots In 2021
Senior Flu Shot Types
The following flu vaccines are recommended for adults 65 and older only. Talk to your doctor about which senior flu shot is right for your loved one.
- Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent is a vaccine made up of four different flu strains likely to cause the flu in the upcoming season. The higher dose of flu virus antigen in the Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent vaccine stimulates a stronger immune response, making it more effective in preventing the flu in seniors than other regular flu vaccines. One study comparing it to the standard flu vaccine also showed the higher-dose vaccine can reduce the need for respiratory-related hospitalizations.
- Adjuvanted flu vaccine contains an additive called an adjuvant. The adjuvant in this vaccine is made with aluminum salts and stimulates a stronger immune response when compared to other standard flu vaccines. This vaccine is usually made up of three different strains of the flu, like other standard flu vaccines, but a quadrivalent adjuvanted vaccine is also available now.
Which Influenza Vaccination Is Best For Older Adults
Looking at the list of available flu shots can be overwhelming. In looking at this years CDC table of available influenza vaccines, I counted eight options that are available for people aged 65 or older:
- 4 standard-dose quadrivalent inactivated vaccines
- 1 standard-dose quadrivalent inactivated vaccine manufactured with a newer cell culture-based technology
- 1 high-dose quadrivalent inactivated vaccine
- 1 standard-dose quadrivalent adjuvanted inactivated vaccine
- 1 quadrivalent recombinant vaccine
Only Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent and Fluad Quadrivalent carry an age indication specific to 65 years or older.
However, the CDC does not recommend any influenza vaccine over another, for adults aged 65 or older.
So if you are an older adult, or if youre trying to arrange a flu shot for an aging relative, which flu vaccine should you try to get?
My take is this: if you have a choice, go for one of the vaccines designed for older adults.
Why? Because we know that as people get older, their immune systems tend to respond less vigorously to immunization. And because research suggests that the high-dose flu shot generates higher antibody titers and has been associated with better influenza outcomes.
We do have more research and experience for Fluzone High-Dose than for Fluad, so unless you are enrolling in a clinical trial of Fluad, I would suggest going with the Fluzone High-Dose.
You May Like: Target Gift Card For Flu Shot
Side Effects Requiring Immediate Medical Attention
Along with its needed effects, influenza virus vaccine, inactivated may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking influenza virus vaccine, inactivated:
- blood in the urine or stools
- hives, itching, or rash
- inability to move the arms and legs
- large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or sex organs
- pinpoint red spots on the skin
- puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
- sudden numbness and weakness in the arms and legs
- tightness in the chest
- unusual tiredness or weakness
Plus Theres Hope That The 2021 Flu Shot Will Outdo Its Predecessors
Since there are different flu viruses out there , the vaccine is reviewed and changed from year to year. The World Health Organization has already selected what components should be a part of the 2021 to 2022 vaccine to best protect against next seasons soon-to-be circulating viruses, too. But again, there’s no way yet to accurately predict how bad this coming year’s flu will be as the virus is always changing.
FYI: The flu shot can’t actually give you the flu.
Another thing to note? Talk of the flu shots many side effects is greatly exaggerated. The flu shot cant actually give you the flu, and while there are some possible side effects, Dr. Adalja says most are rare.
If youre particularly wary of needles, you may prefer the nasal influenza spray over an injection, says Soma Mandal, MD, a board-certified internist at Summit Medical Group in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey. Potential nasal spray side effects include runny nose, wheezing, headache, vomiting, muscle aches, fever, sore throat, and cough.
Not everyone should get the nasal flu spray due to factors like age and underlying health conditions, though, so talk to your doctor to determine if its the best option for you, she says.
Don’t Miss: Which Arm To Get Flu Shot