Who Should Have The Vaccine
In the 2022/23 flu season, the flu vaccine will be available for free to the following groups in England:
- All children aged 2 to 10 years on 31st Aug 2022
- Secondary school children in years 7, 8 and 9 – any remaining vaccine will be offered to children in years 10 and 11, subject to vaccine availability
- Those aged 50-64 years
- Those in long-term residential care homes
- Frontline health and social care workers
- Close contacts of immunocompromised individuals
- Those aged 6 months to 65 years in at-risk groups including people with the following health conditions:
- Respiratory diseases, including asthma
- Heart disease, kidney disease or liver disease
- Neurological conditions including learning disability
- A severely weakened immune system , a missing spleen, sickle cell anaemia or coeliac disease
- Being seriously overweight
Your doctor may recommend the flu vaccine in other circumstances as well.
Note that the eligibility criteria for the 2022/23 season are different to those in the 2021/22 season, so some people who were eligible for the flu vaccine last year may not be eligible this year.
Babies under 6 months old are too young to receive a flu vaccine. This is because they have maternal antibodies passed on from their mother which prevent the vaccine from working so well. Flu vaccination is offered to all pregnant women in the UK . As well as protecting pregnant women themselves, this also helps to protect their newborn babies from flu.
Can I Have Flu And Covid
Yes. It is possible to have flu, as well as other respiratory illnesses, and COVID-19 at the same time. Health experts are still studying how common this can be.
Some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, making it hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone. Diagnostic testing can help determine if you are sick with flu or COVID-19.
Concerns About Side Effects
If the side effects following immunisation are unexpected, persistent, or severe, or if you are worried about yourself or your childs condition after a vaccination, see your doctor or immunisation nurse as soon as possible or go directly to a hospital.
Immunisation side effects may be reported to SAEFVIC, the central vaccine reporting service in Victoria on .
You can discuss how to report problems in other states or territories with your immunisation provider.
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Different Target Different Approach
While many of the newer approaches for delivering influenza virus antigens can accommodate any viral protein or peptide, most proof-of-concept studies have been conducted with HA. While HA-based immunity is potent and well described, and improving its delivery an important task, a true overhaul of influenza vaccination requires a search for more conserved antigens. The discovery of a protective universal influenza vaccine would essentially remove many of the major issues associated with influenza vaccination. As the vaccine would not need to be updated, the vaccine could be produced year round with a timetable set by manufacturers and not the virus itself. While the search for a universal influenza vaccine is far from over, some more conserved viral epitopes have been evaluated as vaccine targets.
Rapid Response To Pandemic Flu
The rapid development, production, and distribution of pandemic influenza vaccines could potentially save millions of lives during an influenza pandemic. Due to the short time frame between identification of a pandemic strain and need for vaccination, researchers are looking at novel technologies for vaccine production that could provide better “real-time” access and be produced more affordably, thereby increasing access for people living in low- and moderate-income countries, where an influenza pandemic may likely originate, such as live attenuated technology and recombinant technologies . As of July 2009, more than seventy known clinical trials have been completed or are ongoing for pandemic influenza vaccines. In September 2009, the FDA approved four vaccines against the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus , and expected the initial vaccine lots to be available within the following month.
In January 2020, the US Food and Drug Administration approved Audenz as a vaccine for the H5N1 flu virus. Audenz is a vaccine indicated for active immunization for the prevention of disease caused by the influenza A virus H5N1 subtype contained in the vaccine. Audenz is approved for use in persons six months of age and older at increased risk of exposure to the influenza A virus H5N1 subtype contained in the vaccine.
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Strains Of The Flu Virus
Flu viruses change frequently, so the strains of the flu virus in the vaccine do as well.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , flu shot composition is decided each year with the help of over 144 influenza centers in over 114 countries.
Laboratories at each center collect influenza surveillance data throughout the year and send virus samples to the World Health Organization Collaborating Centers for Reference and Research on Influenza. The FDA makes the final determination on which strains to target in the U.S.
In the flu shot, the viruses are dead, so you cant get the flu from the vaccine. Live attenuated vaccines contain a weakened version of the virus, so theyre also safe.
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.
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Achilles’ Heels Of The Current Influenza Vaccines
The success of current influenza vaccination campaigns depends heavily on extensive surveillance and manufacturing resources to ensure timely vaccine delivery. Given that each component of the vaccine is updated every 2 to 3 years on average, it is not too surprising that there are occasional problems. Some of the Achilles’ heels of the current influenza vaccine pipelines and the strategies needed to address them are summarized as follows.
What Are The Benefits Of Flu Vaccination
There are many reasons to get an influenza vaccine each year. Flu vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones against flu and its potentially serious complications.
Below is a summary of the benefits of flu vaccination and selected scientific studies that support these benefits.
- Flu vaccination can keep you from getting sick with flu.
- Flu vaccination prevents millions of illnesses and flu-related doctors visits each year. For example, during 2019-2020 flu vaccination prevented an estimated 7.5 million influenza illnesses, 3.7 million influenza-associated medical visits, 105,000 influenza-associated hospitalizations, and 6,300 influenza-associated deaths.
- During seasons when flu vaccine viruses are similar to circulating flu viruses, flu vaccine has been shown to reduce the risk of having to go to the doctor with flu by 40 percent to 60 percent.
- Flu vaccination has been shown in several studies to reduce severity of illness in people who get vaccinated but still get sick.
- A 2021 study showed that among adults, flu vaccination was associated with a 26% lower risk of ICU admission and a 31% lower risk of death from flu compared to those who were unvaccinated.
- A 2018 study showed that from 2012 to 2015, flu vaccination among adults reduced the risk of being admitted to an intensive care unit with flu by 82 percent.
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Who Should Not Have The Flu Vaccine
Most adults can have the flu vaccine, but you should avoid it if you have had a serious allergic reaction to a flu vaccine in the past.
You may be at risk of an allergic reaction to the flu vaccine injection if you have an egg allergy. This is because some flu vaccines are made using eggs.
Ask a GP or pharmacist for a low-egg or egg-free vaccine.
If you’re ill with a high temperature, it’s best to wait until you’re better before having the flu vaccine.
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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Do Recent Vaccine Effectiveness Study Results Support Flu Vaccination
The large numbers of flu-associated illnesses and deaths in the United States, combined with the evidence from many studies that show flu vaccines help to protect against flu illness and its potentially serious complications, support the current U.S. flu vaccination recommendations. CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses. Everyone 6 months and older should get an annual flu vaccine, ideally by the end of October.
Myth #: You Can Get The Flu From The Flu Shot
Fact: The flu shot does not contain an active virus. So, the answer to questions like Can you get the flu from the flu shot? Can the flu shot make you sick? or Is the flu vaccine a live virus? is a definite no.
But for some, the flu shot does come with mild side effects that can easily be mistaken for early flu-like symptoms. The most common flu shot side effects include mild soreness, tenderness or a bit of swelling at the injection site. You may also run a small fever, or experience slight headaches or muscle aches.
On the other hand, many experience no flu shot reactions at all! Plus, a day or two of mild discomfort simply doesnt compare to what you can experience with a full bout of the flu. Flu symptom onset is fast and often involves fever, chills, extreme fatigue, muscle aches and more for several days.
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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.
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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Route Of Vaccine Delivery
Another approach being explored to increase the immunogenicity of influenza vaccines is to differentially stimulate the immune system through alternative delivery routes. Such an approach in terms of influenza vaccine delivery is intradermal inoculation, with the rationale of engaging the abundant pool of professional antigen-presenting cells in the skin. APCs are efficient at capturing and processing antigens for subsequent presentation in the lymphoid organs, resulting in stimulation of both innate and adaptive immunity . In some cases, i.d. vaccines performed better than the conventional intramuscular or subcutaneous vaccines in stimulating a robust immune response . This approach is especially relevant for the elderly, since in two head-to-head studies, i.d. vaccines were superior to i.m. vaccines in terms of immunogenicity in the elderly . Initial reports on the i.d. delivery of the influenza vaccine in healthy adults showed that it was as efficacious as i.m. vaccines in stimulating an antibody response, even with only half the standard dose of HA . A systematic review of clinical studies with i.d. vaccines showed that most studies reported comparable immunogenicity between reduced doses of i.d. vaccines and standard i.m. vaccines , suggesting that i.d. vaccination could provide a dose-sparing strategy.
Special Consideration Regarding Egg Allergy
People with egg allergies can receive any licensed, recommended age-appropriate influenza vaccine that is otherwise appropriate. People who have a history of severe egg allergy should be vaccinated in a medical setting, supervised by a health care provider who is able to recognize and manage severe allergic reactions. Two completely egg-free flu vaccine options are available: quadrivalent recombinant vaccine and quadrivalent cell-based vaccine.
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Can A Flu Vaccine Give Me Flu
No, a flu vaccine cannot cause flu illness. Flu vaccines that are administered with a needle are currently made in two ways: the vaccine is made either with a) flu vaccine viruses that have been killed and are therefore not infectious, or b) with proteins from a flu vaccine virus instead of flu vaccine viruses . The nasal spray vaccine is made with attenuated live flu viruses, and also cannot cause flu illness. The weakened viruses are cold-adapted, which means they are designed to only cause infection at the cooler temperatures found within the nose. The viruses cannot infect the lungs or other areas where warmer temperatures exist.
Same Target Different Approach
While the discussion above has focused on improving the influenza vaccine pipelines currently in use, such approaches are still limited by factors intrinsic to the TIV and LAIV platforms themselves. As such, it is likely that major improvements to influenza vaccines will come about through development of distinct vaccination platforms. Correspondingly, new vaccine delivery and manufacturing technologies are being investigated for use in production of influenza vaccines. These vaccine approaches include the use of vectored or expressed HA antigens and/or targeting of different viral antigens.
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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.