What Is In The Flu Shot
Every year, scientists around the world do their best to get one step ahead of the flu by developing that years iteration of the flu shot. As a reminder, vaccines work by giving your body a chance to fight off an altered version of a virus or bacteria, so that if and when it encounters the live virus in the wild, it already knows how to react, and you never get sick. But whats in a flu shot is a little more complicated.
The recipe starts with the four most common influenza strains from around the world, injected into fertilized chicken eggs or mammalian cells, deactivated so it doesnt give you the actual flu, mixed with a grab-bag of preservatives, antibiotics, and sugars. This combination is then formulated for a shot or spray to make it in time for the 2021 flu season. For those science-is-fucking-awesome types out there, this is indeed awesome.
Its also complex as hell something that keeps virologists on their toes every year. Influenza strains constantly mutate, but scientists get one shot at the annual vaccine, making their best guess some 30 weeks in advance to get the flu shot out to the public.
You Should Receive A Flu Vaccine That Is Appropriate For Your Age And Other Risk Factors
Trivalent flu vaccines include:
- Standard-dose trivalent shots that are manufactured using virus grown in eggs. Different flu shots are approved for different age groups. Most flu shots are given in the arm with a needle. One trivalent vaccine formulation can be given with a jet injector, for persons aged 18 through 64 years.
- A high-dose trivalent shot, approved for people 65 and older.
- A recombinant trivalent shot that is egg-free, approved for people 18 years and older.
- A trivalent flu shot made with adjuvant , approved for people 65 years of age and older .
Quadrivalent flu vaccines include:
- Quadrivalent flu shots approved for use in different age groups.
- An intradermal quadrivalent flu shot, which is injected into the skin instead of the muscle and uses a much smaller needle than the regular flu shot. It is approved for people 18 through 64 years of age.
- A quadrivalent flu shot containing virus grown in cell culture, which is approved for people 4 years of age and older .
I recommend getting the vaccine that is the most convenient. If you have a choice, I suggest the quadrivalent vaccine, which is widely available. The most important thing is to get vaccinated. Either vaccine can provide the flu protection you need, said Dr. Sax.
Can You Get The Flu Vaccine And Covid
You can get a COVID-19 vaccine and a flu vaccine during the same visit, according to the CDC and based on extensive research with vaccines, Dr. Carney says. This gives people the opportunity to get vaccinated for both flu and COVID-19 at the same time, increasing their protection against both of these infections.
While there isnt a ton of information or research available on getting the COVID-19 and flu vaccines at the same time, the CDC makes their recommendation based on research into how people react to other combinations of vaccines. Its not clear if getting both vaccines at the same time will increase your chances of having side effects. Early research done in the U.K. of 670 adults shows that people who received their second COVID-19 vaccine and a flu vaccine at the same time were more likely to have local reactions, which includes side effects like arm pain and swelling near the injection site, compared to people who only got the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the November 2021 paper published in The Lancet2.
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How Do I Use A Goodrx Coupon For My Flu Shot
Heres how to use a GoodRx coupon for a flu shot at one of the pharmacies above:
Get your coupon. In the table above, click on a GoodRx price to get a flu shot coupon. Then save the coupon by printing it out, emailing it to yourself, or texting it to your phone.
Bring your coupon to the pharmacy. Some pharmacies have walk-in clinics while others require an appointment. Check with your pharmacy to see if you need to schedule an appointment many pharmacies let you make appointments online. Once you get to the pharmacy, show your GoodRx coupon to the pharmacist before you get your flu shot.
Get vaccinated. Many pharmacies now offer flu shot services. Your pharmacist will ask you about your medical history to determine which flu vaccine is best for you.
Who Should Not Get A Flu Shot
Talk with a doctor before getting a flu vaccine if you:
- Have a severe allergy to eggs
- Have had a severe reaction to an influenza vaccination
- Children younger than 6 months of age
- People who have a moderate-to-severe illness with a fever
- People with a history of GuillainBarré Syndrome that occurred after receiving the influenza vaccine and who are not at risk for severe illness from influenza should generally not receive the vaccine. Tell your doctor if you ever had Guillain-Barré Syndrome. Your doctor will help you decide whether the vaccine is recommended for you.
You can get a flu vaccine at the same time you have a respiratory illness without fever or if you have another mild illness.
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Talk With Your Health Care Provider
Tell your vaccination provider if the person getting the vaccine:
- Has had an allergic reaction after a previous dose of influenza vaccine, or has any severe, life-threatening allergies
- Has ever had Guillain-Barré Syndrome
In some cases, your health care provider may decide to postpone influenza vaccination until a future visit.
Influenza vaccine can be administered at any time during pregnancy. People who are or will be pregnant during influenza season should receive inactivated influenza vaccine.
People with minor illnesses, such as a cold, may be vaccinated. People who are moderately or severely ill should usually wait until they recover before getting influenza vaccine.
Your health care provider can give you more information.
Myth #: You Don’t Need To Get The Flu Vaccine Every Year
There are two reasons why doctors recommend that people get the flu vaccine every year, Cunningham said.
For one, the strains of the flu virus that are circulating change from year to year. “It’s like the common cold there’s more than one type of virus that causes the flu,” and, in fact, there are hundreds of flu viruses, he said.
Each year, health officials identify the virus strains that are the most likely to cause illness during the upcoming flu season, according to the CDC.
Second, the immunity you develop after getting the shot wanes by the following year. “If you get your shot in August, you’ll be safe through March, but those antibodies won’t be for the next flu season,” Cunningham said.
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What If I Get The Flu Virus Again
You can usually get your flu shot at your local pharmacy.
Don’t worry. If youre exposed to that kind of virus again, your body already knows how to take care of it. It can destroy the virus before you actually get sick.
This is how vaccines work. They give your body a virus or bacteria that is either dead or otherwise deactivated.
That way, the virus or bacteria cant actually get you sick, but your body can still recognize it and learn how to fight it.
The Flu Shot Is Your Best Defence
This years flu season is taking place at the same time as COVID-19. Dont take any unnecessary risks with your health. Get the flu shot as early in the season as possible.
The flu shot is recommended for everyone 6 months old and older. It is:
- available from your doctor or nurse practitioner, and at participating pharmacies and local public health units across the province
- proven to reduce the number of doctor visits, hospitalizations and deaths related to the flu
- different each year because the virus changes frequently so you need to get it every fall
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Risks Of A Vaccine Reaction
- Soreness, redness, and swelling where the shot is given, fever, muscle aches, and headache can happen after influenza vaccination.
- There may be a very small increased risk of Guillain-Barré Syndrome after inactivated influenza vaccine .
Young children who get the flu shot along with pneumococcal vaccine and/or DTaP vaccine at the same time might be slightly more likely to have a seizure caused by fever. Tell your health care provider if a child who is getting flu vaccine has ever had a seizure.
People sometimes faint after medical procedures, including vaccination. 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 injury, or death.
Myth #: The Flu Isn’t Serious
“The flu is certainly a very serious disease,” Cunningham said.
Every year, between 15 million and 60 million cases of the flu are reported in the U.S., Cunningham said. More than 200,000 people with the flu are admitted to hospitals yearly. And between 3,000 and 50,000 people in the U.S. die of the flu yearly. During the 2019-2020 flu season, early estimates by the CDC suggest 38 million Americans were infected with the flu and 22,000 people died from it.
One reason people may not perceive the flu as being serious is that cases of the “stomach flu” are mistaken for influenza virus infections. “True influenza is an infection of the lungs and respiratory tract,” Cunningham said. Infected people may develop a high fever, body aches and nasal congestion, he said.
People with the stomach flu which is commonly caused by a virus called norovirus have diarrhea, cramping and other gastrointestinal symptoms. Influenza does not cause such symptoms.
This article is for informational purposes only, and is not meant to offer medical advice.
Originally published on Live Science.
Rachael has been with Live Science since 2010. She has a master’s degree in journalism from New York University’s Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program. She also holds a B.S. in molecular biology and an M.S. in biology from the University of California, San Diego. Her work has appeared in Scienceline, The Washington Post and Scientific American.
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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.
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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When To Get The Flu Shot
Flu season typically runs from late fall to early spring.
Flu shots are now available for all Ontarians. You should get a flu shot as soon as possible because it takes two weeks to take effect.
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization now recommends that COVID-19 vaccines may be given at the same time as the flu vaccine.
Talk to your doctor or pharmacy to learn more.
Benefits Of The Flu Vaccine
The most obvious benefit of having a flu vaccine is to prevent yourself from being infected with the flu. But a flu vaccine also helps keep the disease from spreading to other people. Once you have the flu virus, it can take a few days before symptoms begin. During that time, you can spread infection to others, including family members and people at high risk for complications and death.
Annual flu vaccines offer significant benefits to those at risk for flu complications. People with asthma, COPD, or heart disease, for example, are all more likely to become seriously ill, which could result in hospitalization or even death. If youre pregnant, having a flu shot can provide protection for you and for your baby for several months after birth.
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Seasonal Flu And Covid
COVID-19 and the flu will likely both be spreading this season, according to the CDC. Protecting yourself from the flu with a flu shot helps reduce your risk of serious illness and hospitalization.3 Thats important this year because there continue to be concerns about hospital capacity with the ongoing spread of COVID-19. It may be hard to know if you have COVID-19 or if it may be the flu or a cold, since symptoms are similar. Getting the COVID-19 vaccine and the flu vaccine will give you the best protection. You can even get them at the same time.3 Ask your doctor if you have more questions about how these vaccines can help protect you.
- Those with specific health conditions
What Is The Difference Between Winter Viruses Colds And The Flu
With winter and the holidays comes cold and flu season. We see different people, more people, and tend to stay in warm, confined places. All of these things can lead to more sicknesses. Often when people become ill during the winter, they assume they have “the flu.” While symptoms for some of these illnesses are “flu-like,” the cause may not be influenza. Here is a list of common winter symptoms and the viruses that can cause them:
Respiratory symptoms can be caused by:
- Influenza virus
Gastrointestinal symptoms can be caused by:
Only three of the viruses mentioned above ) are currently preventable by immunization. Washing your hands frequently and thoroughly, getting enough rest, staying home when ill, coughing into your elbow, and eating a well-balanced diet may decrease your chances of getting sick or passing an illness to others.
And remember, if you think you have “the flu,” you may not actually have influenza.
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The Flu Is More Serious Than You May Realize
According to a study by the CDC, more than 200,000 people in the United States, on average, are hospitalized each year for illnesses associated with seasonal influenza virus infections. The flu can also be deadly.
Certain groups of adults are at higher risk for serious illness and complications from the flu, including:
- People with chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes.
- People with heart disease and those who have had a stroke.
- People who have HIV or AIDS.
- People who have cancer.
Who Should Not Get A Flu Vaccine
Children younger than 6 months cannot get a flu shot. Those who’ve had a severe allergic reaction to a flu vaccine in the past should not get that type of flu shot again, and should speak with their health care provider about whether they can receive another type of flu shot, the CDC says. Similarly, people who’ve had a life-threatening reaction to ingredients in flu vaccines besides egg proteins shouldn’t get flu vaccines with those ingredients, and should speak with their health care provider about whether there is a flu vaccine that’s right for them, the CDC says.
People with egg allergies can still receive any type of flu shot that’s recommend for their age group, even if the flu shot is made with egg-based technology , the CDC says. Studies have found that people with egg allergies are very unlikely to experience a severe reaction to flu vaccines. People who’ve had a severe allergic reaction to egg should get their flu shot under the supervision of a health care provider who can treat severe allergic reactions, the CDC says. In addition, several types of flu shots are egg-free, including recombinant flu vaccines and cell-based flu vaccines.
You should not get the flu vaccine if you have a high fever.
However, if you have minor illness, like a mild cold or a headache, you can still get a flu shot, Schaffner said. “The vaccine does perfectly well in those folks.”
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The Vaccines Provided At Ucla Health Include