How Effective Is The Flu Vaccine
The effectiveness of the seasonal flu vaccine depends upon several factors, including how well the flu strains in the vaccine match the strains in circulation. Some studies show that when strains in the vaccine are a good match with the ones that are circulating, vaccinated individuals are 60 percent less likely to catch the flu than people who aren’t vaccinated, according to the CDC.
Flu vaccine effectiveness can also vary depending on the person being vaccinated the vaccine tends to work best in healthy adults and older children, and less well in older adults.
For instance, a 2013 study from the CDC found that the year’s flu vaccine was not very effective in adults ages 65 and over: Older people who got the vaccine were just as likely to visit the doctor for flu symptoms as those who did not get the vaccine.
But other studies suggest that individuals who do get sick develop less serve symptoms if they are vaccinated. A 2013 study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases found that people who got the flu shot were less likely to be hospitalized with the flu.
Can I Have The Flu Vaccine If I Take Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors
Immune checkpoint inhibitors are a type of medicine used to treat some cancers, including metastatic melanoma, renal clear cell carcinoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, non-small celllung cancer and other solid organ tumours. Checkpoint inhibitors include ipilimumab, nivolumab and pembrolizumab.
People taking checkpoint inhibitors may have a higher risk of immune-related side effects following influenza vaccination. Talk to your oncologist about the risks and benefits of the flu shot.
For more information on the flu vaccine, go to the Department of Health website or call the National Immunisation Hotline on 1800 671 811.
Why Is The Flu Vaccine Recommended
While the flu vaccine isn’t 100% effective, it still greatly reduces a person’s chances of catching the flu, which can be very serious. It also can make symptoms less severe if someone does still get the flu after immunization.
Even if you or your kids got the flu vaccine last year, that won’t protect you 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 types are included in the vaccine one year after 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.
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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.
When Should You Get A Flu Shot
Exactly when the flu season starts and ends is unpredictable, so health officials recommend that people get their flu shot in early fall, preferably by the end of October, the CDC says. The same recommendation applies this year as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Flu activity typically peaks in January or February.
“We’d like to get as many people protected against influenza before influenza becomes active in communities across the country,” Schaffner said.
Most flu vaccines are given before Thanksgiving, Schaffner said, but people can still get their shot throughout the winter months. Each season’s flu shot expires in June of that year, but Schaffner said that he would consider it “too late” to get a flu vaccine after March, unless a person is traveling to the Southern Hemisphere .
After vaccination, it takes a person about two weeks to build up immunity against the flu.
People can visit the CDC’s VaccineFinder.org to find flu shot locations.
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Why Influenza Vaccine Viruses Need To Be Updated
- Influenza vaccination is currently the principal means of reducing or counteracting influenza mortality and morbidity burden in the community.
- The constantly evolving nature of influenza viruses requires continuous global monitoring and frequent reformulation of influenza vaccines.
- Rapid spread of influenza viruses during seasonal epidemics and occasional pandemics tightly frames the whole process if vaccine is to be manufactured and delivered on time.
- A prerequisite of production and supply of an optimal influenza vaccine is the selection and development of optimal candidate vaccine viruses, and the development and availability of vaccine potency reagents.
Who Can Get A Free Flu Vaccine
You can get a free flu vaccine if you are:
- aged 50 to 64 years
- living in a nursing home or other long-term care facility
- in regular contact with pigs, poultry or waterfowl
People aged 50 to 64 have been added to the free flu vaccine programme until the end of April 2022.
People with these conditions can also get a free flu vaccine:
- chronic heart disease, including acute coronary syndrome
- chronic liver disease
- chronic kidney failure
- chronic respiratory disease, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease , cystic fibrosis, moderate or severe asthma, or bronchopulmonary dysplasia
- chronic neurological disease including multiple sclerosis, hereditary and degenerative disorders of the central nervous system
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Flu Shot Side Effects
Influenza vaccines can cause side effects, says the U.S. CDC. However, flu shot side effects are generally mild and go away on their own within a few days. The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System is a passive reporting system, meaning it relies on individuals to send in reports of their experiences. Anyone can submit a report to VAERS, including parents and patients.
Universal Influenza Vaccine Research
A key focus of influenza research programs is developing a universal flu vaccine that provides robust, long-lasting protection against multiple flu subtypes, rather than a select few. Such a vaccine would eliminate the need to update and administer the seasonal flu vaccine each year. In addition, it could protect against newly emerging flu strains, potentially including those that could cause a flu pandemic.
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A Needle In A Haystack
The challenge starts with the virus itself.
An expert shape-shifter, the flu is constantly changing mutating as it replicates itself in ways that allow its strains to get past our body’s immune defenses even if we’ve had the flu before, or if we roll up our sleeves for the shot each fall.
The result? It’s a bit of a war between us and the virus, says David Wentworth, director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Influenza in the U.S., which is run out of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
This battle plays out not only within the bodies of people who come down with the flu’s signature fever, chills and muscle aches, but also in laboratories around the world, where researchers must work quickly to analyze how the flu virus is changing in order to predict what it might do next.
The worldwide system of surveillance starts when specimens from sick patients are sent to the lab for testing. Of those, about 7,000 end up at the laboratory run by microbiologist John Barnes, who leads the CDC’s influenza genomics team.
“We’re always busy, and we’re always getting new viruses to work on, Barnes says. He and his team perform year-round genetic sequencing to determine how flu viruses are behaving, both in terms of which strains are infecting people and other characteristics, like whether a specimen shows signs of resistance to the antiviral drugs that can treat the flu.
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Quadrivalent Influenza Vaccines: 2021
Six months and older:
Afluria is an inactivated quadrivalent influenza vaccine indicated for active immunization against influenza disease caused by subtypes A and B.
Fluarix is prepared from influenza viruses propagated in embryonated chicken eggs.
Flulaval is a quadrivalent, split-virion, inactivated influenza virus vaccine prepared from virus propagated in the allantoic cavity of embryonated hens’ eggs.
Fluzone Quadrivalent is an inactivated vaccine that prevents influenza disease caused by influenza A subtype viruses and type B viruses.
Two-49 years of age:
FluMist is an Intranasal vaccine, a live quadrivalent vaccine formulated to contain four vaccine virus strains.
Flucelvax is a cell culture-based flu vaccine to help offer protection against four flu virus strains.
Eighteen-64 years of age:
Flublok is made without the use of eggs. Therefore, it is not subject to the mutations that are sometimes introduced into the vaccine during egg adaptation that can cause the traditional vaccines to be ineffective.
Sixty-five years and older:
Fluad consists of an inactivated, quadrivalent influenza virus antigen produced in eggs and an oil-in-water emulsion adjuvant, MF59C.1.
Fluzone High-Dose contains four times the antigen of standard-dose inactivated influenza vaccines.
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The Holy Grail For Flu: A Universal Vaccine
The holy grail for flu, researchers say, is to find a universal vaccine that would render remaking the vaccine every year unnecessary. GSK’s Slaoui said he’s been thinking about the potential for a universal vaccine for almost 30 years, and some promising approaches have emerged recently.
The flu virus, he said, is “like a stem with a little balloon at the top of it.” That balloon is the part shown to the immune system, and it’s also the part that changes from strain to strain, enabling the virus to escape the immune system.
“The stem remains substantially the same,” Slaoui said. “So the technology that we are all pursuing now is to try to avoid the immune system looking at the balloon, and rather looking at the stem.”
Work is also being pursued at the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he’s optimistic a universal vaccine is five to 10 years away.
“I think that we are making extraordinary progress and we can sort of see that light at the end of the tunnel,” Fauci said in an interview. “If we can successfully induce a response against that stem part of that protein, we’re going to be very close to developing a universal flu vaccine.”
CNBC’s Jodi Gralnick contributed to this report. Graphics by CNBC’s Mark Fahey.
Why Is The Flu Vaccine Important
Most people who get the flu have a mild illness. But for some, it can be serious and even deadly. Serious complications from the flu are more likely in babies and young children, pregnant women, older adults, and people with certain long-term health conditions like diabetes or asthma.
Getting vaccinated every year is the best way to lower your chances of getting the flu. Flu vaccines cant cause the flu. Keep in mind that getting the flu vaccine also protects the people around you. So when you and your family get vaccinated, you help keep yourselves and your community healthy.
This is especially important if you spend time with people who are at risk for serious illness from the flu like young children or older adults. Learn more about how vaccines help protect your whole community.
The flu is caused by a virus. Common symptoms of the flu include:
- Fever and chills
- Feeling very tired
Some people with the flu may throw up or have diarrhea this is more common in children than adults. Its also important to know that not everyone with the flu will have a fever.
The flu is worse than the common cold. Its a common cause of problems like sinus or ear infections. It can also cause serious complications like:
- Worsening of long-term health problems, like asthma or heart failure
- Inflammation of the brain, heart, or muscles
- Multi-organ failure
The flu is contagious, meaning it can spread from person to person. The flu can spread when:
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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 Is The Flu Vaccine Given
- Kids younger than 9 years old will get two doses of flu vaccine, spaced at least 1 month apart, if they’ve had fewer than two doses before July 2019. This includes kids who are getting the flu vaccine for the first time.
- Those younger than 9 who had at least two doses of flu vaccine will only need one dose.
- Kids older than 9 need only one dose of the vaccine.
Talk to your doctor about how many doses your child needs.
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If It’s A Bad Match Why Should I Bother With A Flu Shot
Although the vaccine appears less well matched against this year’s flu, medical experts still strongly recommend the flu vaccine for anyone 6 months or older. Numerous studies have demonstrated that even a poorly matched vaccine can greatly reduce the severity of the flu. According to the CDC, getting vaccinated for flu can reduce the risk of having to go to the doctor 40 to 60%.
“Studies have clearly shown that seasonal influenza vaccines consistently prevent hospitalizations and deaths even in years where there are large antigenic mismatches,” the authors wrote in a preprint report.
A study of pediatric influenza cases published Jan. 13 in Clinical Infectious Diseases demonstrated that even “mismatched” vaccines provide significant benefit, reducing the risk of life-threatening illness by nearly 75%.
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.
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Important Safety Information Openclose
- You should not get FLUMIST QUADRIVALENT if you have a severe allergy to eggs or to any inactive ingredient in the vaccine have ever had a life-threatening reaction to influenza vaccinations or are 2 through 17 years old and take aspirin or medicines containing aspirin children or adolescents should not be given aspirin for 4 weeks after getting FLUMIST QUADRIVALENT unless your healthcare provider tells you otherwise
- Children under 2 years old have an increased risk of wheezing after getting FLUMIST QUADRIVALENT
- Tell your healthcare provider if you or your child are currently wheezing have a history of wheezing if under 5 years old have had Guillain-Barré syndrome have a weakened immune system or live with someone who has a severely weakened immune system have problems with your heart, kidneys, or lungs have diabetes are pregnant or nursing or are taking a medication used to treat influenza like Tamiflu®*, Relenza®*, amantadine, or rimantadine
- The most common side effects are runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, and fever over 100°F
Thursday 29 March 2018
Have you been wondering if you should bother getting vaccinated? Did you know that the influenza vaccine isnt the same every year? Or that getting vaccinated each year provides the best protection against the flu?
Read on to learn what the flu is, how the vaccine works and why you should think about getting vaccinated this year.
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Can I Get The Influenza Vaccine And Covid
You can get the Pfizer or AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and the flu vaccine but not on the same day. You should wait at least 7 days between receiving a dose of COVID-19 vaccine and the flu vaccine.
You arent required to have the vaccines in any particular order. The order will likely depend on vaccine availability, so you may receive whichever vaccine you have access to first.
If youre having the Pfizer vaccine, this means you may be able to get a flu vaccination in between the 2 doses, if appropriate.
In special cases, your healthcare provider may consider shortening the time period between the different vaccines or they may suggest you receive the vaccines on the same day. This will only be considered if:
- theres a high risk that youll be exposed to one of the diseases
- its highly likely that the opportunity of receiving either vaccine will be missed
If this is suggested, youll be counselled about any possible adverse events from each vaccine. Youll be advised to report any adverse events.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more advice on how to schedule vaccinations.
What’s In This Year’s Flu Vaccines
The composition of the 2021-2022 flu shot will be different from last season’s flu shot. Specifically, the two influenza A components of the flu shot differ from those in last year’s shot. In addition, all flu shots for the 2021-2022 season will be quadrivalent, meaning they will contain four strains of flu viruses.
According to the CDC, the 2021-2022 quadrivalent egg-based flu shot will contain the following strains of the flu virus:
- A/Victoria/2570/2019 pdm09-like virus This H1N1 component differs from last year’s flu shot.
- A/Cambodia/e0826360/2020 -like virus This is the H3N2 component that is different from last year’s flu shot.
- B/Washington/02/2019- like virus This influenza B strain component is the same as the one in last year’s shot.
- B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus This influenza B strain component was also in last year’s shot.
Then, there are two types of flu vaccines that dont involve eggs: cell-based and recombinant-based flu vaccines. In cell-based flu vaccines, the inactivated flu virus is grown in cultured cells from mammals rather than in hens eggs. And recombinant flu vaccines are created synthetically. To make this type of vaccine, scientists combine a lab-made antigen specific to the flu virus with a baculovirus .
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