The Flu Shot Is Effective
The effectiveness of the vaccine varies from season to season. It depends on:
- how well the vaccine matches with the circulating flu viruses
- the health and age of the person getting the flu shot
The viruses circulating in the population can sometimes change during the time it takes to produce a vaccine. When this happens during the flu season, the flu shot may not work as well as expected.
It’s also important to remember that the flu shot protects against several different flu viruses each season. The seasonal flu shot can still provide protection against the remaining 2 or 3 viruses, even when theres:
- a less-than-ideal match
- lower effectiveness against one virus
If you do get the flu, the flu shot may reduce the severity of flu-related complications.
Getting your flu shot is still the most effective way to protect yourself against the flu and flu-related complications.
Should I Get Vaccinated If Im Pregnant
Yes. Changes in your immune, heart, and lung functions during pregnancy make you more likely to get seriously ill from flu. CDC recommends pregnant women get a yearly seasonal flu shot by the end of October, if possible, to ensure best protection against flu. You can be vaccinated during any trimester of your pregnancy. Getting vaccinated can also help protect your baby after birth from flu.
You Are Eligible For A Covid
For most people who are eligible for both the flu jab and COVID-19 booster, they will have to attend 2 appointments. It is important that you do not delay your flu jab in the expectation that you can have it alongside the COVID-19 booster. You need to have your flu jab before flu starts to circulate. If you are offered both vaccines at the same appointment it will save you having to attend a second time. It is safe to have them both together.
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Who Shouldn’t Get A Flu Shot
The flu vaccine is not right for everyone. You should not get a flu shot if you have:
- Fever or moderate to severe illness at the time of vaccination
- History of previous severe or life-threatening allergic reaction to a flu shot
Infants under 6 months old should also not receive the flu shot. Additionally, if you have a history of Guillain-Barré syndrome after previous flu vaccinations, talk to your healthcare provider before getting a flu shot again.
Some Children Are At Higher Risk
Children at greatest risk of serious flu-related complications include the following:
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How Flu Vaccine Virus Strains Are Selected
Every year, in late February or early March, before that years flu season ends, the FDA, the World Health Organization , the CDC, and other public health experts collaborate on collecting and reviewing data from around the world to identify the flu viruses likely to cause the most illnesses during the next flu season.
Following that process, the FDA convenes its vaccines advisory committee, consisting of outside experts, to discuss the WHO recommendations and to consider which flu viruses are expected to circulate in the U.S. The committee also reviews data about which flu viruses have caused illnesses in the past year, how the viruses are changing, and disease trends for the U.S. The FDA takes that information into account before it selects the virus strains for FDA-licensed manufacturers to include in their vaccines for use in the U.S.
The closer the match between the virus strains chosen for the vaccine and the circulating strains causing disease during flu season, the better the protection that the flu vaccine provides. Although the vaccine and viruses may not be an exact match in some years, that does not mean the vaccine is not benefiting people. Available data show that the vaccine can reduce the severity of illness in people who get vaccinated but still get sick.
Everyone 6 Months And Older Should Get The Flu Shot
The flu shot is your best defence against the flu. The flu shot is recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older.
It can save lives by:
- protecting you, if you’re exposed to the virus
- preventing you from getting very sick
- protecting people close to you:
- because you’re less likely to spread the virus
- who are at higher risk of serious flu complications if they get the flu
The flu shot wont protect you against COVID-19.
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Is It Ever Too Late
Flu shots are typically given in the early fall through March or April. CDC recommends getting a flu shot by the end of October. However, as long as the flu virus is making people sick in your community, it’s worth getting vaccinated against it. It won’t provide full protection immediately, but it could still prevent you from getting sick.
Are Flu Vaccines Safe
Yes. Flu vaccines have been used for over 50 years and have been safely given to hundreds of millions of people, including pregnant people. Flu vaccines, like all vaccines used in the U.S., are carefully monitored for safety through the U.S. vaccine monitoring systems .
Find answers to more questions about vaccine safety.
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When Should I Get Vaccinated
You should get a flu vaccine before flu viruses begin spreading in your community since it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against flu. Make plans to get vaccinated early in the fall, before flu season begins. CDC recommends that people get a flu vaccine by the end of October. However, getting vaccinated early is likely to be associated with reduced protection against flu infection later in the flu season, particularly among older adults. Vaccination should continue to be offered throughout the flu season, even into January or later. Children who need two doses of vaccine to be protected should start the vaccination process sooner of vaccine to be protected should start the vaccination process sooner because the two doses must be given at least four weeks apart.
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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Where To Get A Flu Shot
You have many options for where to get a flu shot, including:
- Your healthcare provider’s office
- Flu clinics
Many employers and schools often offer flu shots on-site during special vaccination events as well.
If you have significant health issues or an egg allergy, your healthcare provider’s office is the best place to get your flu shot. Your practitioner should know your medical history and will know if there is any reason you should not have a flu vaccine or if one type is better for you than another. They can also monitor for adverse reactions, if necessary.
Why Do Some Children Need To Get Two Flu Shots
The first dose “primes” the immune system and the second dose provides immune protection. Children needing only one dose of the vaccine should also get it by the end of October if possible.
If your child needs two doses, begin the process early enough to ensure that your little one is protected before the flu starts circulating in your community. Children who only get one dose but need two doses can have reduced or no protection from a single dose of influenza vaccine.
Your pediatrician can tell you if you’re still not sure whether your child needs two doses. After the initial double dose, children need just one annual dose of flu vaccine. Kids who are 9 years old or older only need one dose, regardless of vaccination history.
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Who Should Have The Nasal Spray Flu Vaccine
The nasal spray flu vaccine is free on the NHS for:
- children aged 2 or 3 years on 31 August 2021 born between 1 September 2017 and 31 August 2019
- all primary school children
- all year 7 to year 11 children in secondary school
- children aged 2 to 17 years with long-term health conditions
If your child is aged between 6 months and 2 years and has a long-term health condition that makes them at higher risk from flu, they’ll be offered a flu vaccine injection instead of the nasal spray.
This is because the nasal spray is not licensed for children under 2 years.
The nasal spray vaccine offers the best protection for children aged 2 to 17 years. They will be offered the flu vaccine injection if the nasal spray vaccine is not suitable for them.
Some children will be offered the injected flu vaccine if they have:
- a severely weakened immune system
- asthma that’s being treated with steroid tablets or that has needed intensive care in hospital
- a flare-up of asthma symptoms and need to use a reliever inhaler more than usual
- had an allergic reaction to a flu vaccine in the past
- a condition that needs salicylate treatment
If you’re not sure, check with the school immunisation team, the nurse or GP at your surgery, or a hospital specialist.
The injected flu vaccine is given as a single injection into the muscle of the upper arm, or the thigh for children under 1 year.
What Side Effects Can Occur After Getting A Flu Vaccine
While a flu vaccine cannot give you flu illness, there are different side effects that may be associated with getting a flu shot or a nasal spray flu vaccine. These side effects are mild and short-lasting, especially when compared to symptoms of a bad case of flu.
A flu shot: The viruses in a flu shot are killed , so you cannot get flu from a flu shot. Some minor side effects that may occur are:
Soreness, redness, and/or swelling where the shot was given
The nasal spray: The viruses in the nasal spray vaccine are weakened and do not cause severe symptoms often associated with influenza illness. In children, side effects from the nasal spray may include:
In adults, side effects from the nasal spray vaccine may include:
If these problems occur, they begin soon after vaccination and usually are mild and short-lived. A flu shot, like other injections, can occasionally cause fainting. Tell your provider if you feel dizzy or have vision changes or ringing in the ears. As with any medicine, there is a very remote chance of a vaccine causing a severe allergic reaction, other serious injuries, or death.
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Does The Vaccine Have Side Effects
Yes, but theyâre mild. They include:
- Redness or soreness in the body part that got the shot
- Low-grade fever
The vaccine canât give your child the flu.
More serious side effects are rare, but your child could be allergic to the shot. Signs of allergic reaction to a flu vaccine include:
If you see any of these signs, get emergency help.
Another side effect to watch for is localized infection at the site of the injection. If there is significant swelling, redness, pus, fevers or any concerns, contact your doctor.
Flu vaccines for children may not be safe for everyone. Your childâs doctor may not want to give them a shot if they:
- Has had severe allergic reactions to past flu vaccines
- Has ever had Guillain-BarrÃ© syndrome, an immune system disorder
- Is currently sick
Doctors say the vaccine has such a low amount of egg protein that it’s unlikely to cause an allergic reaction in kids who have an egg allergy. If your kid does, talk to their doctor before you let them get the flu shot. Or ask about egg-free vaccines.
What Else Should I Know
Some things might prevent a person from getting the flu vaccine. Talk to your doctor to see if the vaccine is still recommended if your child:
- has ever had a severe allergic reaction to a flu vaccination
- has had Guillain-Barré syndrome
Egg Allergy and the Flu Vaccine
In the past, people with an egg allergy had to check with their doctor about whether the flu vaccine was OK for them because it’s grown inside eggs. But health experts now say that the amount of egg protein in the vaccine is so tiny that it’s safe even for kids with a severe egg allergy. This is especially important during a severe flu season.
Still, a child with an egg allergy should get the flu vaccine in a doctor’s office, not at a supermarket, drugstore, or other venue.
Getting a Flu Vaccine During the COVID-19 Pandemic
The flu season seemed milder during the COVID-19 pandemic, as fewer people got infected or were hospitalized with the flu. This was probably tied to public health measures that protected against coronavirus, as they also protect against the flu. These included wearing masks in public, social distancing, and less travel. Increased flu vaccination rates also might have helped. If these precautions happen less, the rate of flu infections will go back up, so it’s still important to get a flu vaccine each year. People can get a flu vaccine at the same time they get the COVID-19 vaccine.
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Should I Have Flu Immunisation If I’m Pregnant
Yes – flu immunisation is free anytime during your pregnancy. This is because flu is likely to be more severe in pregnancy and affect you and your growing baby.
Flu immunisation during pregnancy has an excellent safety record. It offers protection against the flu for mum and baby, both before and after birth.
Watch Ali, an intensive care nurse and mum, talk about why she had flu immunisation while pregnant with her second child Caitlin. .
See the Ministry of Health website for a transcript.
Can I Get Seasonal Flu Even Though I Got A Flu Vaccine This Year
Yes. Its possible to get sick with flu even if you have been vaccinated . This is possible for the following reasons:
You may be exposed to a flu virus shortly before getting vaccinated or during the period that it takes the body to gain protection after getting vaccinated. This exposure may result in you becoming ill with flu before the vaccine begins to protect you.
You may be exposed to a flu virus that is not included in the seasonal flu vaccine. There are many different flu viruses that circulate every year. A flu vaccine is made to protect against the three or four flu viruses that research suggests will be most common.
Unfortunately, some people can become infected with a flu virus a flu vaccine is designed to protect against, despite getting vaccinated. The protection provided by the flu vaccination can vary widely, based in part on the health and age factors of the person getting vaccinated. In general, a flu vaccine works best among healthy younger adults and older children. Some older people and people with certain chronic illnesses may develop less immunity after vaccination. Flu vaccination is not a perfect tool, but it is the best way to protect against flu infection.
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Is Flu Illness Serious
Millions of children get sick with flu each year and thousands are hospitalized. CDC estimates that since 2010, between 7,000 and 28,000 children younger than 5 years old have been hospitalized for flu each year in the United States. Children with chronic conditions like asthma, diabetes, and disorders of the brain or nervous system, and children younger than 5 years old are more likely to end up in the hospital from flu.
Some people at high risk can develop complications that can result in hospitalization and even death.
Flu seasons vary in how serious they are from one season to another. Since 2010, CDC estimates that between 130 and 1,200 children have died from flu each year.