Who Can Have The Flu Vaccine
The flu vaccine is given free on the NHS to people who:
- are 50 and over
- have certain health conditions
- are pregnant
- are in long-stay residential care
- receive a carer’s allowance, or are the main carer for an older or disabled person who may be at risk if you get sick
- live with someone who is more likely to get infections
- frontline health or social care workers
Why Is The Flu Vaccine Recommended
While the flu vaccine isn’t 100% effective, it still greatly lowers a person’s chances of catching the flu, which can be very serious. It also can make symptoms less severe if someone who got the vaccine does still get the flu.
If you got the flu vaccine last year, it can’t provide enough protection this year, because flu viruses change. That’s why the vaccine is updated each year to include the most current types of the virus.
Sometimes the same virus types are included in the vaccine from one year to the next. Even then, it’s still important to get the yearly flu vaccine because the body’s immunity against the influenza virus declines over time.
Getting the flu vaccine not only protects you from the flu. It also helps protect the people and community around you. The flu vaccine makes someone less likely to get the flu, and therefore less likely to spread the flu. Getting the flu vaccine is a great way to protect people who are at risk from flu, such as the elderly, babies, and people with health conditions such as asthma. Every year thousands of people die from influenza, and getting the flu vaccine is one way to help prevent that.
How Does The Flu Vaccine Work To Prevent The Flu
The flu vaccines stimulate the immune system to produce of antibodies in the body that fight the particular flu virus in the vaccination. When the virus enters a vaccinated person, the antibodies attack and kill the virus and prevent infection. Antibodies are produced against the specific strains of the virus contained in the yearly vaccine.
Flu vaccination does not protect against infection caused by microbes other than the influenza virus.
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Who Can Get Quadrivalent Flu Vaccine
All flu vaccines in the United States for the 2021-2022 season are quadrivalent vaccines. Different vaccines are approved for different age groups. There is a quadrivalent flu shot that can be given to children as young as 6 months old. Flucelvax Quadrivalent is now approved for people 6 months and older. More information on approved flu vaccines for the 2020-2021 flu season, and age indications for each vaccine are available in CDCs Table: U.S. Influenza Vaccine Products for the 2020-2021 Season.
The quadrivalent nasal spray vaccine is approved for use in non-pregnant individuals, 2 years through 49 years old. People with certain medical conditions should not receive the nasal spray influenza vaccine.
Who Should Have The Flu Shot
The Australian Government recommends that everyone over the age of 6 months has a flu vaccination every year.
Its difficult to predict who will catch influenza , or who will become seriously ill from it. The flu can require hospitalisation and can even be fatal.
Getting vaccinated against the flu helps protect both you and the people around you. Its particularly important to protect vulnerable people in the community who cant be vaccinated, such as babies who are younger than 6 months and adults with low immunity.
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Groups Who Should Especially Get The Vaccine
The flu shot can protect you against the flu. Because of this, it can reduce your chances of being infected with COVID-19 and the flu at the same time. This can lead to serious complications. You should especially receive the flu vaccine this season if youre:
- at high risk of severe COVID-19 related illness
- capable of spreading the flu to those at high risk of severe illness related to COVID-19
The flu vaccine is especially important for the following groups.
How Effective Are Vaccines
Vaccine effectiveness varies depending on the outcome being measured, the age group affected , and the match between vaccine and circulating influenza strains.
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Types Of Flu Shots For People 65 And Older
People 65 years and older should get a flu shot, not a nasal spray vaccine. They can get any flu vaccine approved for use in their age group with no preference for any one vaccine over another. There are regular flu shots that are approved for use in people 65 years and older and there also are two vaccines designed specifically for this age group:
High Dose and Adjuvanted Flu Vaccine Side Effects
The high dose and adjuvanted flu vaccines may result in more of the temporary, mild side effects that can occur with standard-dose seasonal flu shots. Side effects can include pain, redness or swelling at the injection site, headache, muscle ache and malaise, and typically resolve with 1 to 3 days.
Is The Flu Dangerous For Pregnant People
Yes. Flu can be very dangerous for pregnant people and their babies. The changes in immune, heart and lung function during pregnancy make you more likely to get seriously ill from the flu. If you get the flu while pregnant, it also increases your chance for complications, such as premature labor and delivery, and birth defects.
Getting a flu shot during your pregnancy helps protect both you and your baby. When you get vaccinated, your body makes antibodies that are passed to your baby, which helps protect them during their first few months of life, before they are able to start getting their own annual flu vaccinations.
Flu shots have safely been given to millions of people, including pregnant people, over many years. Numerous studies show that the flu vaccine is safe and effective for pregnant people and their babies.Pregnancy experts strongly recommend that all pregnant people get a flu shot. You can safely get the flu shot during any trimester.
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Messenger Rna Vaccinesalso Called Mrna Vaccines
Researchers have been studying and working with mRNA vaccines for decades and this technology was used to make some of the COVID-19 vaccines. mRNA vaccines make proteins in order to trigger an immune response. mRNA vaccines have several benefits compared to other types of vaccines, including shorter manufacturing times and, because they do not contain a live virus, no risk of causing disease in the person getting vaccinated.
mRNA vaccines are used to protect against:
Can You Get Covid
According to the CDC, “While it’s not possible to say with certainty what will happen in the fall and winter , CDC believes it’s likely that flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will both be spreading. In this context, getting a flu vaccine will be more important than ever.” There is no evidence to suggest that it is not possible to have both diseases at the same time.
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Technologies In Type A Influenza Vaccine
The inactivated vaccine and the live attenuated virus vaccine are the two major types of vaccines authorised currently. The inactivated vaccine includes a strand of killed pathogen inside the vaccine while a weakened form of virus is included inside the live attenuated vaccine. They both aim to trigger the active immune response inside our body. The inactivated viral vaccine is injected parentally. Meanwhile, the live attenuated virus vaccine usually comes in trivalent or quadrivalent forms for intranasal administration. However, there is insufficient data from the 2013-2016 flu seasons showing the effectiveness of quadrivalent live attenuated vaccine in children aged 2â17. Primarily, inactivated viral vaccines are used as prevention of influenza in the United States.
When producing the strand of weakened or killed virus, egg-based or cell-based technology can be applied. For the egg-based technology, the flu virus is grown inside an egg. On the other hand, the flu virus strand for cell-based vaccine is grown using cultured cell of mammalian origins.
Why Should People Get Vaccinated Against Flu
Influenza is a potentially serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Every flu season is different, and flu can affect people differently, but millions of people get flu every year, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized and thousands to tens of thousands of people die from flu-related causes every year. Flu can mean a few days of feeling bad and missing work or it can result in more serious illness. Complications of flu can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes. An annual seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to help protect against flu. Vaccination has been shown to have many benefits including reducing the risk of flu illnesses, hospitalizations and even the risk of flu-related death in children. While some people who get a flu vaccine may still get sick, flu vaccination has been shown in several studies to reduce severity of illness.
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Why We Need New Flu Vaccines Every Year
There are several reasons a new flu vaccine must be made each year.
Flu viruses can change from year to year, so the vaccine is updated to protect against new virus strains that are expected to circulate in the U.S. The vaccine needs to include influenza virus strains that most closely match those in circulation for the influenza season. In addition, the protection provided by the flu vaccine a person received in the previous year will diminish over time and may be too low to prevent influenza disease into next years flu season.
The Nasal Spray Option
People who absolutely cant stand needles may be able to seek out a flu vaccine that can be administered via a nasal spray, notes the CDC. Sold under the brand name FluMist, this form is approved for healthy nonpregnant individuals, 2 through 49 years old.
The nasal vaccine is actually a little bit different from all the other vaccines in that other flu vaccines are inactivated they contain dead parts of the virus, whereas the intranasal one is a live attenuated vaccine, which means that it contains live virus that has kind of been weakened, so that the body can mount an immune response to that, says Philbrick.
She explains that the body simply will not mount an immune response to an inactivated vaccine that is administered intranasally.
Conway points out that the nasal vaccine was restricted for use in those under age 2 because they experienced some side effects such as wheezing.
As far as the restriction for those 50 and older, a spokesperson for FluMists manufacturer, AstraZeneca, says that Based on the clinical studies conducted and submitted for FDA review and approval, the effectiveness of FluMist Quadrivalent has not been established in people aged 50 and older.
Philbrick recommends the traditional flu shot as the method of choice, but if you absolutely cant do needles and otherwise would not get the flu vaccine, the nasal spray would be an appropriate alternative.
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Iv1 Inactivated Influenza Vaccine
IIVs contain standardized amounts of the HA protein from representative seed strains of the two human influenza A subtypes and either one or both of the two influenza B lineages . IIVs currently authorized for use in Canada are a mix of split virus and subunit vaccines, both consisting of disrupted virus particles. Split virus vaccines contain whole inactivated viruses split with detergent, ether, or both, while subunit vaccines are made of purified HA and NA. The amount of NA in the vaccines is not standardized. HA-based serum antibody produced to one influenza A subtype is anticipated to provide little or no protection against strains belonging to the other subtype. The potential for trivalent vaccine to stimulate antibody protection across B lineages requires further evaluation and may be dependent upon factors such as age and prior antigenic experience with the two B lineagesFootnote 79,Footnote 80,Footnote 81,Footnote 82,Footnote 83,Footnote 84.
Because of potential changes in the circulating influenza virus from year to year and waning immunity in vaccine recipients, annual influenza vaccination is recommended. Although NACI is aware of some recent studies that suggest that vaccine induced protection may be greater in individuals who have no recent vaccine history, optimal protection against influenza, season after season, is best achieved through annual influenza vaccinationFootnote 85,Footnote 86. NACI will continue to monitor this issue.
Efficacy and effectiveness
The Standard Flu Shot Protects Against Four Strains
Most influenza vaccines in America today are created to fight off four different strains of flu virus, according to the CDC. In fact, the CDC says about 99 percent of the vaccine supply produced for the 20202021 flu season is quadrivalent . The quadrivalent immunizations protect against two A strains of the virus and two B strains .
The first flu vaccine, developed in the late 1930s, targeted a single strain of influenza A, according to an article published in September 2016 in the Journal of Preventive Medicine and Hygiene. Then, in 1942, scientists discovered influenza B viruses and created a bivalent immunization.
In 1978, a major mutation of the A flu virus, H1N1, swept the globe and spurred researchers to quickly formulate a trivalent vaccine. Trivalent vaccines became the primary type of influenza inoculation for decades. They would feature two A strains and one B strain. Then, in 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Fluarix, the first quadrivalent vaccine in the United States.
It always puzzled me why, for whatever reason, the vaccine manufacturers had decided to only put one or the other B strain in , says James Conway, MD, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison. Companies gradually started shifting over to making quadrivalent vaccines where they would have two As and two Bs, and it became apparent that that was a wiser way to go.
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What About People Who Get A Seasonal Flu Vaccine And Still Get Sick With Flu Symptoms
There are several reasons why someone might get flu symptoms, even after they have been vaccinated against flu.
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.
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Q& a With Pharmacy Expert Hai Tran Pharmd
As the first cases of flu are reported in Los Angeles this season, public health experts are urging anyone who isn’t already vaccinated to get the flu shot. It’s the best protection against the flu, which could pummel the U.S. this winter after nearly disappearing last year.
“Getting vaccinated against the flu reduces your risk of becoming infected as well as your risk of being hospitalized with an infection or dying,” said clinical pharmacist Hai Tran, PharmD, associate director of Pharmacy at Cedars-Sinai. “You not only protect yourself but also those around you, and you are helping build the herd immunity that protects the most vulnerable people in our community.”
With everyone paying more attention to how vaccines work during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Cedars-Sinai Newsroom interviewed Tran to get a closer look at the flu vaccine. It’s easy to take this long-established tool for granted, but a lot of work throughout the year goes into developing a new formulation of the shot each season.
We spoke with Tran for more details on the flu shot’s origins, how it works and how it’s developed each year.