Reasons To Get A Flu Shot Even If Its Not Flu Season
Despite the best-laid plans, sometimes the flu season might catch you by surprise or linger much longer than you anticipated. Even if youve missed peak flu season, there are still plenty of reasons to get your late flu shot. No matter how early or late, theres really no bad time to get vaccinated.
Seasonal Flu And Covid
Flu and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by infection with a coronavirus and seasonal flu is caused by infection with one of many influenza viruses that spread annually among people.
Because some symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, people may need to be tested to tell what virus is causing their illness. People can be infected with both a flu virus and the virus that causes COVID-19 at the same time. In general, COVID-19 seems to spread more easily than flu and causes more serious illnesses in some people. Compared with people who have flu infections, people who have COVID-19 can take longer to show symptoms and be contagious for longer. This FAQ page compares COVID-19 and flu, given the best available information to date.
Yes. It is possible to have flu and other respiratory illnesses like COVID-19 at the same time. This is called a coinfection.
During the 2020-2021 flu season, because of historically low flu activity, flu and SARS-CoV-2 coinfections were relatively rare. As flu viruses circulate in greater numbers along with SARS-CoV-2 in the 2021-2022 winter season, we would expect to see more coinfections. CDC is using surveillance data to help determine how common it is in the 2021-2022 winter season for people to be infected with flu and SARS-CoV-2 at the same time. CDC will provide updates as more information becomes available.
Who Should Have The Vaccine
In 2022/23 flu season, the following people are eligible to receive the flu vaccine for free:
- All children aged 2 to 10 years on 31st Aug 2022
- Secondary school children in years 7, 8 and 9
- Those aged 50-64 years
- Those aged 65 years or over
- 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.
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Whos Most At Risk Of Getting The Flu
Typically, children and older people are most at risk of getting sick with influenza. The best way to protect babies who are too young to be vaccinated is to make sure people around them are vaccinated. Occasionally, a flu virus will circulate that disproportionately affects young and middle-age adults.
You also can reduce the spread of the flu and its effects by taking such practical measures as washing your hands, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home when youre sick.
The FDA has approved numerous vaccines for the prevention of influenza. But if you do get the flu, there are FDA-approved antiviral drugs, available by prescription, to treat your illness. There are several FDA-approved antiviral drugs recommended by the CDC for use against circulating influenza viruses. These drugs work best if started soon after the onset of symptoms .
When Is Flu Season For 2021
The flu is unpredictable, but it typically thrives in the colder months. When the thermometer drops, that’s when you can expect flu season to start, Dr. Peterson says.
You can expect it to pick up around October, peak in December through February, and can last until May, Natasha Bhuyan, MD, an infectious disease specialist and family physician in Phoenix, Arizona, previously told WH.
So, *now* is the perfect time to put a reminder on your calendar to stop at your pharmacy and get the flu shot, for the sake of your own health and the health of everyone around you.
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How Much Influenza Vaccine Is Projected To Be Available For The 2021
Flu vaccine is produced by private manufacturers, so supply depends on manufacturers. Vaccine manufacturers have projected that they will supply the United States with as many as 188 million to 200 million doses of influenza vaccine for the 2021-2022 season. These projections may change as the season progresses. All flu vaccines for the 2021-2022 season will be quadrivalent . Most will be thimerosal-free or thimerosal-reduced vaccine and about 18% of flu vaccines will be egg-free.
What Kinds Of Flu Vaccines Are Recommended
There are several licensed and recommended flu vaccine options this season:
Standard dose flu shots made from virus grown in eggs.
Shots made with adjuvant and high dose for older adults.
Shots made with virus grown in cell culture instead of eggs.
Shots made using a recombinant vaccine production technology that does not require the use of a flu virus.
Live attenuated influenza vaccine , which is made with live, weakened influenza viruses. It is an option for people 2 through 49 years of age who are not pregnant.
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Flu Vaccine Effectiveness For 20212022 Season
Each year, the flu vaccine is designed to protect against the strains of the flu that scientists believe will be most common. However, the effectiveness of the flu vaccine depends on which flu strains are most prevalent and how they compare to the strains that the vaccine protects against.
Because of this, flu vaccine effectiveness varies from year to year. Scientists dont yet have estimates for the effectiveness of the flu vaccine for the 20212022 season. In addition, in the 20202021 flu season the CDC didnt estimate the effectiveness of the vaccine because transmission of the flu was historically low, likely due to COVID-19 precautions that also protect against the flu.
Are Flu Vaccines Safe
Yes. Flu vaccines have been used for over 50 years and have been safely given to hundreds of millions of people, including pregnant people. Flu vaccines, like all vaccines used in the U.S., are carefully monitored for safety through the U.S. vaccine monitoring systems .
Find answers to more questions about vaccine safety.
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Why Is It Important To Get A Flu Vaccine Every Year
Flu viruses are constantly changing, so flu vaccines may be updated from one season to the next to protect against the viruses that research suggests will be common during the upcoming flu season.
Your protection from a flu vaccine declines over time. Yearly vaccination is needed for the best protection.
How Effective Is The Nhs Flu Immunisation Programme
The flu vaccine works better in some years than others . Across all age groups including children, the flu vaccine prevented 15-52% of flu cases between 2015 – 2020 . Due to low levels of circulating influenza in the 2020-21 flu season, it has not been possible to determine vaccine effectiveness for this time period.
Protection from the flu virus varies for different age groups. In children aged 2-17, the flu vaccine prevented 66% of flu cases in 2016-17, 27% of flu cases in 2017-18, and 49% of flu cases in 2018-19. However, in the over 65 age group the inactivated flu vaccine worked less well than it did in other adults and children. In 2016-17, the data suggest that the inactivated flu vaccine did not work at all in people aged over 65, whilst in 2017-2018 it resulted in slightly better results in that age group. Due to the lower effectiveness of the inactivated flu vaccine in older people, a vaccine containing an adjuvant was introduced for the 2018-19 season. This is a substance that strengthens and lengthens the immune response to the vaccine and resulted in better prevention of flu in people aged 65 or over in flu seasons since 2018-19. The adjuvanted vaccine is still recommended for this age group in the 2022-23 season.
It is not understood why flu vaccines do not work so well in older adults. However, this reinforces the importance of vaccinating children and healthcare workers, both of whom can help to stop the spread of flu to older adults.
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Why Do People Need A Vaccine Each Year
With many illnesses, one jab is enough. So why is it important to get vaccinated against the flu every year?
“We have seasonal flus every year that move across the planet differently. They tend to drift depending on their genetic makeup, and are always evolving,” explains Dr Stephen Griffin, Virologist and Associate Professor at Leeds Institute of Medical Research.
So while you may have had flu in previous years, or been immunised in the past, any immunity you retain will not have the same effect against a new form of seasonal flu.
When should I get my flu vaccine?
Can I Get The Flu Once Ive Gotten The Vaccine
Even if you do get the vaccine, it isn’t 100 percent effective, and theres no guarantee itll keep you from getting the flu. Thats because the virus is extraordinarily promiscuous, according to Dr. Poland. Its constantly mutating and changing, meaning that the vaccine you get could be protecting you from four different strains of the flu but if you run across a fifth strain, you could still get sick.
For example, In 2000, we had exactly the right combination of flu strains in the vaccine, Dr. Poland says. “Then, out of nowhere, in November, there was a new strain, and people had no protection.
Still, some protection is better than none at all. With so many different types of influenza virus out there, its best to be protected against as many as possible.
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People At High Risk Of Influenza
- All children 6 to 59 months of age
- Adults and children with the following chronic health conditions:
- cardiac or pulmonary disorders
- diabetes mellitus and other metabolic diseases
- cancer, immune compromising conditions due to underlying disease, therapy, or both, such as solid organ transplant or hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients
- renal disease
- neurologic or neurodevelopment conditions, including:
- seizure disorders
Key Facts About Seasonal Flu Vaccine
On June 30, 2022, CDC announced that Director Rochelle P. Walensky adopted the Decision memo approving the ACIP vote for a preferential recommendation for the use of higher dose or adjuvanted flu vaccines over standard-dose unadjuvanted flu vaccines for adults 65 years and older. CDCs full recommendations for the use of flu vaccines during 2022-2023 will appear in a forthcoming Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Edits to this page are also forthcoming. More information can be found online: CDC Director Adopts Preference for Specific Flu Vaccines for Seniors
Note: Prevention and Control of Seasonal Influenza with Vaccines: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices United States, 2021-2022 Influenza Season has been . More information on the 2021-2022 season is also available.
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Ii5 Choice Of Seasonal Influenza Vaccine
The decision to include specific influenza vaccines as part of publicly funded provincial and territorial programs depends on several factors, including cost-effectiveness evaluation and other programmatic and operational factors, such as implementation strategies. Not all products will be made available in all jurisdictions and availability of some products may be limited therefore, officials in individual provinces and territories should be consulted regarding the products available in individual jurisdictions.
With the availability of influenza vaccines that are designed to enhance immunogenicity in specific age groups, the choice of product has become more complex.
Choice of influenza vaccine by age group
Recommendations for individual-level decision making
- NACI recommends that influenza vaccine should be offered annually to anyone 6 months of age and older who does not have a contraindication to the vaccine. Table 2 provides age group-specific recommendations for the age-appropriate influenza vaccine types authorized for use in Canada.
Recommendations for public health program-level decision making
- NACI recommends that any of the age-appropriate influenza vaccine types available for use may be considered for people without contraindications to the vaccine. Table 2 provides age group-specific recommendations for the age-appropriate influenza vaccine types authorized in Canada.
Eligibility For 2022 Season Influenza Vaccines
Please note: From 24 May 2022 until 17 July 2022, the Queensland Government will be offering free influenza vaccinations to all Queenslanders over 6 months of age. After 17 July 2022, influenza vaccines will be funded under the National Immunisation Program for the following groups due to their increased risk of complications from influenza:
- all children from 6 months to less than 5 years of age
- all adults aged 65 years and older
- pregnant women
- all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over
- individuals aged 6 months and older with medical conditions which increase the risk of influenza disease complications .
All other individuals 5 years or over not included in the categories above can purchase the vaccine from their doctor.
In 2022, all funded influenza vaccines available will be quadrivalent vaccines including the adjuvanted influenza vaccine for adults aged 65 years and older.
Only one government-funded influenza vaccine is available for eligible people each year, with the exception of eligible children up to 9 years of age receiving an influenza vaccine for the first time. These children require and are funded for 2 doses, 4 weeks apart.
Age restrictions apply to all vaccine brands .
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Do I Need A Flu Shot If Im Vaccinated Against Covid
Some people think getting a flu or coronavirus vaccine reduces risks for both viruses, but thats not the case, since these are different viruses, Wen said. Therefore, getting a flu vaccine is the best protection against flu and its potentially serious complications, and getting a COVID-19 vaccine is the best protection against COVID-19, the CDC said.
This years flu vaccines are designed to protect against the four different flu viruses that research has indicated will be most commonly circulating, according to the CDC. Since there are many flu viruses that constantly change, the makeup of US flu vaccines is reviewed yearly and updated as needed.
People ages 6 months and older should get a licensed, age-appropriate flu vaccine or nasal spray flu vaccine before the end of October, according to the CDC. Unless your doctor advises otherwise, you shouldnt delay vaccination for a specific vaccine product if another age-appropriate vaccine is available.
Who Got The Flu Shot
Vaccine coverage for adults in the 2019/20 season was similar to the coverage in the previous season .
Figure 1: Seasonal flu vaccination coverage, 2017-2018 to 2019-2020 flu seasons.
Canadas goal is to have 80% of those at higher risk of complications from the flu vaccinated. This includes seniors and adults aged 18-64 years with chronic medical conditions.
In the 2019/20 season:
- more females than males were vaccinated
- only 4 in 10 Canadian adults with chronic medical conditions received the flu shot, which fell short of the national goal of 80%
- the highest vaccine uptake was among seniors , which is approaching the national goal of 80%
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How Long The Flu Shot Lasts
Your bodys immunity to the flu decreases over time. This is true whether youve had a vaccination or a flu infection.
Additionally, influenza viruses are constantly changing. Because of this, a vaccine from the previous flu season may not protect you through an upcoming flu season.
Generally speaking, receiving the seasonal influenza vaccine should help to protect you for the duration of the current flu season.
Youll need to receive a seasonal influenza vaccine every year in order to have the best protection against influenza viruses.
The flu vaccine is produced by a number of private manufacturers and typically begins to ship to healthcare providers in August. However, theres some evidence that it may not be advantageous to receive your vaccine this early.
A indicated that maximum immunity is achieved shortly following vaccination and decreases with each passing month. Therefore, if you get your vaccine in August, you may be more susceptible to infection late in the flu season, around February or March.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting the flu vaccine before influenza activity begins to pick up within your community, ideally by the end of October.
If you receive your vaccine later, dont worry. Late vaccination can still provide adequate protection, as influenza can circulate within your community through March or even later.
Side effects from the flu shot are typically mild and only last a few days.
Flu vaccine side effects can include: