Why You Need A Flu Vaccine In 2021
Experts are expecting the worst from the 2021-2022 flu season. Flu rates were unusually low last winter, in large part because most people were wearing masks, social distancing, and staying home when feeling sick to prevent the COVID-19 pandemic from getting any worse. But with many people returning to society, and a good portion of them without masks, the flu season could come back with a vengeance this season. The early and strong return of RSV is one sign of this.
Without exposure to the flu last year, people may be more vulnerable than usual this season. Because of this, its crucial to get your flu shot.
If youve taken steps to prevent your kid from getting the coronavirus, youd be hypocritical not to do the same for the flu. So far, 655 children aged 17 and below have died from COVID in 2020 and 2021 combined, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . In comparison, 199 kids were reported to the CDC to have died from flu during the 2018-2019 flu season alone, and statistical modelling suggests that 434 children may have actually died from the flu that season.
So if you worried at all about your kids during the pandemic, you should make sure they get the flu shot. You should get it too, because the flu kills thousands of adults aged 18-49 each year and sends tens of thousands to the hospital . Theres very little point in avoiding getting COVID during a global pandemic just to get knocked out by the seasonal flu.
Next Steps & Resources:
- Meet our clinical contributor: Juan Ravell, M.D., division chief of allergy and immunology at Hackensack University Medical Center
- Hackensack Meridian Health has appointments available for Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. to get your appointment within 24 hours. To make an appointment with a doctor near you, call or visit our website.
Find Out Exactly Whats In The Flu Shot For 2021
Theres been a lot of talk about vaccines and vaccine ingredients lately thanks to the COVID-19 vaccine. And now that flu season upon us, its only natural to wonder about whats in your flu vaccine, too.
Like the COVID-19 vaccines, there are several types of seasonal flu vaccines. Some are egg-based, for example, while others are egg-free. There are also differences between the flu shot and nasal mist, and small nuances with high-dose flu vaccines and regular vaccines. For this flu season, the Food and Drug Administration has released nine different lots of the flu vaccine, and each is slightly different with its own ingredients. Still, they have a lot in common.
The flu vaccines are very similar in their general composition, says infectious disease expert Amesh A. Adalja, M.D., a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. However, some use different technologies.
Sowhats in your seasonal flu vaccine and why? Experts break it down.
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Ok But What Else Is In The Flu Shot
The influenza vaccine doesn’t only contain inactive or parts of the flu virus. While there is not one flu shot ingredient listsince multiple flu shots are on offer every yearthere are certain flu shot components that youre likely to see if you look up whats in the flu shot of your choosing. Below is a list of some of the components of many flu shots.
Ingredients Keep Vaccines Safe And Long Lasting
Some ingredients help make sure a vaccine continues to work like its supposed to and that it stays free of outside germs and bacteria. For example:
- Preservatives , like thimerosal, protect the vaccine from outside bacteria or fungus. Today, preservatives are usually only used in vials of vaccines that have more than 1 dose. Thats because every time an individual dose is taken from the vial, its possible for harmful germs to get inside. Most vaccines are also available in single-dose vials and do not have preservatives in them.
- Stabilizers , like sugar or gelatin, help the active ingredients in vaccines continue to work while the vaccine is made, stored, and moved. Stabilizers keep the active ingredients in vaccines from changing because of something like a shift in temperature where the vaccine is being stored.
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Can People With Egg Allergies Get Vaccinated
A: Yes. People with egg allergies can get any licensed, recommended flu vaccine thats appropriate for their age. They no longer have to be watched for 30 minutes after getting the vaccine. People who have severe egg allergies should be vaccinated in a medical setting and be supervised by a health care professional who can recognize and manage severe allergic conditions.
Preservatives In Flu Vaccines
Preservatives in a vaccine help prevent other germs, such as bacteria or fungi, from contaminating the vaccine. A common preservative call thimerosal exists in some flu vaccines. Thimerosal has been carefully tested, and studies show that it is very safe.
Possible side effects from thimerosal include redness and swelling at the injection site. A very tiny percentage of people may have an allergy to thimerosal, though this is extremely rare. Thimerosal does not build up in the body and instead breaks down and exits the body.
Single-dose flu shots do not contain thimerosal. Multi-dose flu shots do contain thimerosal to ensure no germs can enter the vial with each new needle.
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Allergic Reactions To The Flu Vaccine
It’s very rare for anyone to have a serious allergic reaction to the flu vaccine. If this does happen, it usually happens within minutes.
The person who vaccinates you will be trained to deal with allergic reactions and treat them immediately.
Anyone can report a suspected side effect of a vaccine through the Yellow Card Scheme.
Iv Vaccine Preparations Authorized For Use In Canada: Additional Information
The following sections describe information on the efficacy and effectiveness, immunogenicity, and safety of influenza vaccines that are authorized for use in Canada by type: IIV and LAIV. Refer to Appendix A for a summary of the characteristics of specific influenza vaccine products available in Canada for the 2020-2021 season.
NACI acknowledges that evidence related to influenza vaccine performance, particularly with respect to vaccine efficacy and effectiveness, is constantly evolving with advances in research methodology and accumulation of data over many influenza seasons. Therefore, the evidence summarized in this section may not include the latest studies. However, in accordance with usual practice, NACI continues to closely monitor the emerging evidence on the efficacy and effectiveness, immunogenicity, and safety of influenza vaccines to update and to make recommendations when warranted.
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Adjuvants Other Than Aluminum In Vaccines
For a list of studies related to aluminum in vaccines, visit the aluminum page.
Weibel D, Sturkenboom M, Black, S, et al. Narcolepsy and adjuvanted pandemic influenza A 2009 vaccines multi-country assessment. Vaccine 2018 38:6202.The authors found no increased risk of narcolepsy in children or adults in Argentina, Canada, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan and the Netherlands following implementation of squalene-adjuvanted influenza H1N1 vaccines in those countries.
Dos Santos G, Seifert HA, Bauchau V, Shinde V, Barbeau DM, et al. Adjuvanted A/H1N1 2009 Pandemic influenza vaccines and solid organ transplant rejection: systematic signal evaluation and lessons learnt. Drug Saf 2017 40:693-702.In 2010, the European Medicines Agency requested an assessment of available data following a signal of solid organ transplant rejection after immunization with either of GlaxoSmithKlines two adjuvanted pandemic influenza vaccines, Pandemrix® and Arepanrix® H1N1. The authors investigated 5,000 patients who received the 2009 A/H1N1 pandemic vaccine and an additional 11,000 subjects who received adjuvanted A/H5N1 vaccines. They found that data supported the safety of adjuvanted pandemic influenza vaccination in SOT recipients.
Genny Himself Believed That Aluminium Salts Help By Binding To The Vaccines Main Ingredient The Part Resembling The Pathogen
To this day, the aluminium in vaccines is always in the form of salts. These include aluminium hydroxide , aluminium phosphate and potassium aluminium sulphate, which is sometimes found in baking powder.
Genny himself believed that aluminium salts help by binding to the vaccines main ingredient, the part resembling the pathogen, presenting it to the immune system more slowly. This might give the immune system longer to respond, and therefore lead to stronger immunity.
But this idea has gone out of fashion and the truth has proven to be a lot more complicated.
One theory is that the toxicity of aluminium salts is, paradoxically, the reason they work. They lead distressed cells to release uric acid, which activates an immune reaction normally associated with damage. Immune cells flock to the site, and start producing antibodies and voila, the vaccine has worked.
Another idea is that a receptor called Nalp3 is likely to play a central role. For a 2008 study led by Richard Flavell from Yale University, Connecticut, mice which had been genetically engineered without it were injected with a vaccine containing aluminium. Their immune response was almost non-existent. However, when they tried a vaccine using a different adjuvant one containing an emulsion of mineral oil the animals produced antibodies as usual.
Aqualene, an oil made from shark livers, is is a key ingredient in one leading squalene
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Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccines
LAIV is approved for use only in persons aged 249 years who do not have underlying medical conditions. The vaccine should, however, not be administered to pregnant women. LAIV is given as a nasal spray, 1 dose only but children aged 28 years who have not received seasonal influenza vaccine during the previous influenza season should receive 2 doses, at least 4 weeks apart.
LAIV is made from attenuated, or weakened, viruses and does not cause influenza, although it can cause mild signs or symptoms . Most common side effects from the vaccine are mild and transient compared to symptoms of influenza infection.
Vaccination Dose And Schedule By Age1
|AGED 6 MONTHS THROUGH 8 YEARS||AGED 9 YEARS AND OLDER|
|VACCINATION STATUS||Not previously vaccinated with influenza vaccine||Vaccinated with influenza vaccine in a previous season||Not Applicable|
at least 4 weeks apart
1 or 2 dosesa
aOne dose or 2 doses , depending on vaccination history, per the annual Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommendations on prevention and control of influenza with vaccines. If 2 doses, administer each 0.5-mL dose at least 4 weeks apart.
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What Ingredients Are In A Flu Shot
There are many options when you get a flu shot, so it is a good idea to be familiar with the ingredients. You can choose vaccines with live or inactivated viruses, egg-free, preservative-free, high-dose vaccines, trivalent or quadrivalent, and more.
In the United States, health officials withdrew approval for the FluMust flu vaccine, which is a nasal spray that contains a live attenuated influenza virus, because it was not effective in the last 3 flu seasons.
Below is a list of ingredients you may find in a flu vaccine.
How Does The Flu Vaccine Work
The flu vaccine helps your body protect itself against the flu. It works by training your immune system on how to fight the flu virus.
The immune system is like a defense system, with white blood cells as soldiers. Typically, if germs enter the body, white blood cells recognize them as bad guys. This is because germs carry proteins antigens that are different from normal body cell proteins. In response, white blood cells start making defense proteins antibodies. These antibodies help white blood cells destroy the germs.
Making the right antibodies can take a few days. In the meantime, the germs keep making you sick. In most cases, the immune system clears the infection and retires the antibodies except for a few stored as a memory for future infections.
Vaccines work by harnessing our bodys natural defense system. A vaccine contains a harmless amount of a virus or bacteria. By introducing it into the body, the immune system learns to make and store antibody memory against it.
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Iii1 People At High Risk Of Influenza
All pregnant women
NACI recommends the inclusion of all pregnant women, at any stage of pregnancy, among the particularly recommended recipients of IIV, due to the risk of influenza-associated morbidity in pregnant womenFootnote 25,Footnote 26,Footnote 27,Footnote 28,Footnote 29, evidence of adverse neonatal outcomes associated with maternal respiratory hospitalization or influenza during pregnancyFootnote 30,Footnote 31,Footnote 32,Footnote 33, evidence that vaccination of pregnant women protects their newborns from influenza and influenza-related hospitalizationFootnote 34,Footnote 35,Footnote 36,Footnote 37, and evidence that infants born during influenza season to vaccinated women are less likely to be premature, small for gestational age, and of low birth weight than if born to women that had not received an influenza vaccineFootnote 38,Footnote 39,Footnote 40,Footnote 41. The risk of influenza-related hospitalization increases with length of gestation .
Refer to the Statement on Seasonal Influenza Vaccine for 2011-2012 and the Statement on Seasonal Influenza Vaccine for 2012-2013 for further details on influenza vaccination during pregnancy.
Adults and children with chronic health conditions
Neurologic or neurodevelopment conditions
People of any age who are residents of nursing homes and other chronic care facilities
Adults 65 years of age and older
All children 6-59 months of age
Ingredients Are Used During The Production Of Vaccines
Some ingredients that are needed to produce the vaccine are no longer needed for the vaccine to work in a person.
These ingredients are taken out after production so only tiny amounts are left in the final product. The very small amounts of these ingredients that remain in the final product arent harmful.
Examples of ingredients used in some vaccines include:
- Cell culture material , like eggs, to help grow the vaccine antigens.
- Inactivating ingredients , like formaldehyde, to weaken or kill viruses, bacteria, or toxins in the vaccine.
- Antibiotics , like neomycin, to help keep outside germs and bacteria from growing in the vaccine.
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Quadrivalent Vaccines For Seasonal Flu
A quadrivalent flu vaccine administered by nasal mist was approved by the FDA in March 2012. Fluarix Quadrivalent was approved by the FDA in December 2012.
In 2014, the Canadian National Advisory Committee on Immunization published a review of quadrivalent influenza vaccines.
Starting with the 2018-2019 influenza season most of the regular-dose egg-based flu shots and all the recombinant and cell-grown flu vaccines in the United States are quadrivalent. In the 2019â2020 influenza season all regular-dose flu shots and all recombinant influenza vaccine in the United States are quadrivalent.
In November 2019, the FDA approved Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent for use in the United States starting with the 2020-2021 influenza season.
In February 2020, the FDA approved Fluad Quadrivalent for use in the United States. In July 2020, the FDA approved both Fluad and Fluad Quadrivalent for use in the United States for the 2020â2021 influenza season.
Iv5 Additional Vaccine Safety Considerations
Influenza vaccine is safe and well tolerated. Contraindications, precautions, and common AEs are described in Section II. Additional information regarding egg-allergic individuals and GBS is provided below.
After careful review of clinical and post-licensure safety data, NACI has concluded that egg-allergic individuals may be vaccinated against influenza using any appropriate product, including LAIV, without prior influenza vaccine skin test and with the full dose, irrespective of a past severe reaction to egg and without any particular consideration, including vaccination setting. The amount of trace ovalbumin allowed in influenza vaccines that are authorized for use in Canada is associated with a low risk of AE. The observation period post-vaccination is as recommended in Vaccine Safety in Part 2 of the CIG. As with all vaccine administration, vaccine providers should be prepared with the necessary equipment, knowledge, and skills to respond to a vaccine emergency at all times.
Refer to the Statement on Seasonal Influenza Vaccine for 2018-2019 for safety data supporting this recommendation for IIV and LAIV.
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Antivirals: What To Do When You Already Have The Flu
When you come down with the flu, antiviral medicine can shorten its duration. The FDA has approved six influenza antiviral drugs in the U.S. But theyre all in somewhat short supply, so you might not be given them if youre not a child or elderly. This is why we get our flu shots, people!
The antiviral you probably already know goes by the brand name of Tamiflu, which you can get over the counter with relative ease even if youre not young or elderly. This drug, along with two others that work in the same manner , block an enzyme the virus needs to replicate. They can shave up to a day off your illness, but they need multiple doses to keep the drug working. Tamiflu, for instance, requires patients to take it twice a day for five days.
The newest antiviral, Baloxavir marboxil , is a single-dose antiviral drug approved in 2019 by the FDA. Baloxavir is for people with basic flu who are 12 years and older and have had symptoms for less than 48 hours. In a phase 2 trial published by The New England Journal of Medicine, it shaved off upwards of 28 hours of flu symptoms . This antiviral stands out in that its the only one that gets to the root of replication, messing with the virus RNA to stop it from reproducing. Also, its one of the only ones to come in a single dose, so you can pop it once and forget about it.