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Allergic Reactions To The Flu Vaccine

The flu vaccine: explained

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.

What Are The Types Of Flu Vaccines

Two types of flu vaccine are available for the 20212022 flu season:

  • the flu shot, which is injected with a needle
  • the nasal spray, a mist that gets sprayed into the nostrils

Both protect against the four types of influenza virus that are causing disease this season.

In the past, the nasal spray vaccine wasn’t recommended for kids because it didn’t seem to work well enough. The newer version appears to work as well as the shot. So either vaccine can be given this year, depending on the child’s age and general health.

The nasal spray is only for healthy people ages 249. People with weak immune systems or some health conditions and pregnant women should not get the nasal spray vaccine. It should also be avoided in kids who take aspirin regularly, who have a cochlear implant, or who have recently taken antiviral medicine for the flu.

Where To Get Vaccinated

If you take part in the National Immunisation Program you can still access your vaccination through your General Practitioner or community health provider. People eligible for a free influenza vaccination through NIP include:

  • people aged 65 years and over
  • pregnant women
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over
  • all children aged 6 months and over to less than 5 years
  • people aged 6 months and over with certain medical conditions that increase their chance of severe influenza and its complications.

All other Queensland residents over 6 months can make an appointment at a local pharmacy or GPs office to receive the influenza vaccination at no cost. GPs may continue to charge for the appointment itself.

The influenza vaccination can be received at the same time as a COVID-19 vaccination dose but Queensland Health COVID-19 vaccination hubs are not administering the influenza vaccination at this time.

Queenslanders without Medicare

Queenslanders who do not hold Medicare cards can still access the influenza vaccination for free. More information is coming soon.

Book your appointment

Book your appointment to get vaccinated for influenza through your GP or book online with your local pharmacy.

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A Note About Effectiveness

The level of protection provided by a flu vaccine can vary according to a persons age, any health conditions they have, how much flu virus is circulating in the community and how good a match the vaccine is for the virus strains that are the most prominent for that season.4

That said, influenza vaccinations are a major strategy in reducing the number of people who are infected with influenza during the year and clinical findings suggest if someone does become infected, the severity of an infection will likely be much reduced after immunisation.8

Who Can Receive Fluzone High

What Is the Flu Vaccine? Flu Shot Efficacy, Ingredients, &  Effects

In the United States, Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent is licensed only for people 65 years and older. Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent is not recommended for people with a history of severe allergic reaction to the vaccine or to ingredients other than eggs. Information about vaccine ingredients is located in package inserts from each manufacturer.

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Can I Get Both Vaccines At The Same Time

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation and the Commonwealth Department of Health have advised that a flu vaccine can be given at any time before or after, or with a COVID-19 vaccine.

Where possible plan to get your annual flu vaccine before the start of each flu season. The period of peak influenza transmission is usually between June and September in most parts of Australia. If available, you could get the flu vaccine at the same time as the COVID-19 booster dose.

Use the COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Checker to find out when you are able to plan your COVID-19 vaccine.

If you had a 2021 flu vaccine in late 2021 or early 2022, it is still recommended to get a 2022 flu vaccine when it becomes available.

After receiving a vaccination, including for influenza or COVID-19, some people may have unwanted side effects. Read more about when to report these side effects, and why that information is important.

The Australian Government Department of Health also has information about reporting adverse side effects following a COVID-19 vaccination What happens after I am vaccinated for COVID-19?

Do I Need A Flu Vaccine This Year

The flu is caused by influenza viruses of types A, B, C or D.4 Most flu-related illnesses are caused by influenza type A or B viruses. Influenza viruses are constantly changing parts of their genetic code .

Over time a virus may become different enough that it is no longer recognised by a persons immune system. This increases the chance of infection and of this variant being passed on to other people to become the dominant strain causing illness.

Constant mutation means that the dominant strain one year may not remain the dominant strain in following years.5 This is why the influenza vaccines change each year to better match the likely strains causing infection. It is also why people are advised to have a flu jab every year so they can produce the antibodies best matched to defend against the influenza viruses currently in circulation.

Whether you have had flu previously or have had an influenza vaccination in the past, current evidence suggests that any antibodies you made will become less protective with time.5 This may be because the level of antibodies in your body declines, or because the antibodies you have do not work against the influenza types currently causing infection.

In Australia, the influenza vaccine rollout is guided by advice from the World Health Organisation . It recommends which influenza strains should be included in the next seasons vaccines, based on analysis of recent flu seasons.5

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Availability Of Flu Vaccines

Different brands of the flu vaccine from different manufacturers are used and they become available at different times. Some flu vaccines are used only in the funded program, some are used only for private programs and others may be used for both funded and private programs.

When adequate stocks are available, the funded flu vaccine is distributed to immunisation providers using the established South Australian vaccine distribution system. Privately purchased flu vaccine supplies are arranged by the providers that use them and may be available at a different time to funded flu vaccines.

Check with your immunisation provider to find out approximately when they will have the vaccine available and when you will be able to book in to have the vaccine.

Vaccines For Use In Over 65s

Is a Universal Flu Vaccine Within Reach?

All eight vaccines in the above table of products are registered for use in those aged over 65 years.

The adjuvanted QIV, Fluad Quad and the non-adjuvanted Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent are specifically for use in elderly.

Fluad Quad can be used in individuals from 65 years of age and above.

Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent can be used in individuals from 60 years of age and above.

All people aged 65 years and over are eligible for free influenza vaccines under the NIP.

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How Do Flu Vaccines Work

Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection with circulating influenza viruses.

Seasonal flu vaccines are designed to protect against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. All flu vaccines in the United States are quadrivalent vaccines, which means they protect against four different flu viruses: an influenza A virus, an influenza A virus, and two influenza B viruses.

What Side Effects Do Kids Experience

Children who participated in the trial experienced similar side effects to adults. Most of their symptoms were mild.

The Food and Drug Administration says some of the most common side effects included headaches, pain at the injection site, muscle aches and fatigue. It also said no children had serious reactions during the trial.

Some studies suggested children were less likely to experience side effects than those older than 12. FDA data support this.

Data show 39.4% of kids 5-11 experienced fatigue after their second shot. 65.6% of people 16-25 had fatigue. More than twice as many people from the older group had headaches after their second shot.

Dr. Daniel Denner from Novant Health said the smaller dose could be the cause.

“They are less likely to have those startup side effects — feeling tired, having fevers, just not feeling well in general — for that 2-3 day period after the shot,” Denner said.

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What Kinds Of Flu Vaccines Are Available

CDC recommends use of any licensed, age-appropriate influenza vaccine during the 2021-2022 influenza season. Available influenza vaccines include quadrivalent inactivated influenza vaccine , recombinant influenza vaccine , or live attenuated influenza vaccine . No preference is expressed for any influenza vaccine over another.

Quadrivalent flu vaccines include:

Are any of the available flu vaccines recommended over others?

Yes, for some people. For the 2022-2023 flu season, there are three flu vaccines that are preferentially recommended for people 65 years and older. These are Fluzone High-DoseQuadrivalent vaccine, Flublok Quadrivalent recombinantflu vaccine or Fluad Quadrivalent adjuvanted flu vaccine. On June 22, 2022, CDCs Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted unanimously to preferentially recommend these vaccines overstandard-dose unadjuvanted flu vaccines. This recommendation was based on a review of available studies which suggests that, in this age group, these vaccines are potentially more effective than standard dose unadjuvanted flu vaccines. There is no preferential recommendation for people younger than 65 years.

What if a preferentially recommended flu vaccine is not available?

If one of the three preferentially recommended flu vaccines for people 65 and older is not available at the time of administration, people in this age group should get an age-appropriate standard-dose flu vaccine instead.

Who Should Vaccinate?

Routine Vaccines Are Free

flu shots

You can check the NIP schedule to find out which vaccines you or your family are eligible to receive for free and when.

You can find out more about what your recommended vaccines are, and when you should get them. The NIP funds all immunisations linked to family assistance payments.

Infants, children, adolescents and adults who have, or are eligible to have a Medicare card can receive free vaccines under the NIP.

Find out if youre eligible for a Medicare card.

All NIP vaccines are free, but your doctor or other health care provider may charge a consultation fee for the visit. Check if there are any fees when making your appointment.

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Flu Vaccine Ingredients: The Strains

Every year, vaccine developers take virus samples from labs across the world and mix and match them. This years vaccine relies on four viruses this is called a quadrivalent vaccine. The four viruses in the vaccine are somewhat different for the three different types of flu vaccines, which are egg-based , recombinant, and egg-free.

Those viruses are


First, lets break down the terminology: A refers to the type of influenza that infects birds, humans, pigs, horses, seals, and dogs H#N# refers to the different proteins found in the outer shell of the virus pdm is short for pandemic and 09 is the year of said pandemic .

This years Apdm09 component is different for flu vaccines that are egg-based compared to those that are cell-based and recombinant-based. For egg-based vaccines, the component remained the same as last year: an A/Victoria/2570/2019pdm09-like virus. That refers to a flu strain akin to the one seen in the 2009 pandemic that was created in 2019 in a lab in Victoria.

For cell-based and recombinant vaccines, the component remained the same as last year: an A/Wisconsin/588/2019 pdm09-like virus.

The second component is a variant of the 2009 H1N1 swine flu. H3N2 was first found in pigs in 2010, then in humans in 2011. The biggest human outbreak was in 2012 with some 309 reported cases.

Influenza B

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.

  • One reason is that some people can become ill from other respiratory viruses besides flu such as rhinoviruses, which are associated with the common cold. These viruses can cause symptoms similar to flu, and also spread and cause illness during flu season. Flu vaccines only protect against flu and its complications, not other illnesses.
  • Another explanation is that it is possible to be exposed to flu viruses, shortly before getting vaccinated or during the two-week period after vaccination that it takes the body to develop immune protection. This exposure may result in a person becoming sick with flu before protection from vaccination takes effect.
  • A third reason why some people may experience flu symptoms despite getting vaccinated is that they may have been exposed to a flu virus that is very different from the vaccine viruses. The ability of a flu vaccine to protect a person depends largely on the similarity or match between the vaccine viruses chosen to make vaccine and those spreading and causing illness. There are many different flu viruses that spread and cause illness among people. For more information, see Influenza Viruses.
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    Annual Selection Of Viruses

    The composition of influenza vaccines are updated annually by WHO based on information gathered from the Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System , a partnership of 141 national influenza centres in 111 countries, 6 WHO collaborating centres and 4 WHO essential regulatory laboratories.

    The WHO GISRS collects and analyses influenza virus samples from around the world on an ongoing basis. Each year, 1 or more components of the vaccine designated for the coming influenza season in the northern and/or southern hemisphere might be changed to reflect the most frequent and recent circulating influenza A and B viruses.

    Vaccines For Use In Children

    2 Types of Flu Vaccine

    For children, four vaccines are available from 6 months and over: Fluquadri, Fluarix Tetra, Influvac Tetra and Vaxigrip Tetra. Afluria Quad for children 5 years and over, and Flucelvax Quad for children 2 years and over.

    All children aged 6 months to less than 5 years are now eligible to receive free annual influenza vaccines under the NIP.

    The dose of influenza vaccines for all ages is 0.5 mL.

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    Can Severe Problems Occur

    Life-threatening allergic reactions to flu shots are very rare. Signs of serious allergic reaction can include breathing problems, hoarseness or wheezing, hives, paleness, weakness, a fast heartbeat, or dizziness. If they do occur, it is usually within a few minutes to a few hours after receiving the shot. These reactions can occur among persons who are allergic to something that is in the vaccine, such as egg protein or other ingredients. While severe reactions are uncommon, you should let your doctor, nurse, clinic, or pharmacist know if you have a history of allergy or severe reaction to influenza vaccine or any part of flu vaccine.

    There is a small possibility that flu vaccine could be associated with Guillain-Barré syndrome, generally no more than 1 or 2 cases per million people vaccinated. This is much lower than the risk of severe complications from flu, which can be prevented by flu vaccine.

    What Other Flu Vaccines Are Available For People 65 Years And Older

    In addition to Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent, one other influenza vaccine is licensed specifically for people 65 years and older. The adjuvanted flu vaccine,FLUAD Quadrivalent, contains an adjuvant, an ingredient intended to help improve immune response.

    One recombinant influenza vaccine, Flublok Quadrivalent , is available during the 20202021 influenza season. Flublok Quadrivalent was first licensed by the FDA in the United States for use in adults 18 years and older in 2017. An earlier trivalent version was licensed in 2013 but was later replaced by the quadrivalent version. A new CDC study showed that flu shots made using recombinant technology produced a better antibody response among health care personnel compared with both cell-based and traditional flu shots.

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    What If It Is Not Clear What A Person’s Vaccination History Is

    When indicated, vaccines should be administered to patients with unknown vaccination status. All residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities should have their vaccination status assessed and documented.

    How long must a person wait to receive other vaccinations?

    Inactivated influenza vaccine and tetanusvaccines may be given at the same time as or at any time before or after a dose of pneumococcus vaccine. There are no requirements to wait between the doses of these or any other inactivated vaccines.

    Vaccination of children recommended

    In July 2000, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC jointly recommended childhood pneumococcal immunization, since pneumococcal infections are the most common invasive bacterial infections in children in the United States.

    “The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, PCV13 or Prevnar 13, is currently recommended for all children younger than 5 years of age, all adults 65 years or older, and persons 6 through 64 years of age with certain medical conditions,” according to the 2014 AAP/CDC guidelines. “Pneumovax is a 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine that is currently recommended for use in all adults 65 years of age or older and for persons who are 2 years and older and at high risk for pneumococcal disease . PPSV23 is also recommended for use in adults 19 through 64 years of age who smoke cigarettes or who have asthma.”

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