Who Is Most At Risk
Complications from the flu can include serious conditions, like pneumonia or heart attacks and, in some cases, death. Flu causes about 12,200 hospitalizations and 3,500 deaths in Canada each year.
Some people are more vulnerable to complications and hospitalization from the flu:
- babies under 6 months old are too young to get the flu shot, but they’ll get some protection if their parent got the flu shot while they were pregnant
- children under 5 years of age, because their immune systems are developing, and their airways are small and more easily blocked
- people 65 years old and older, because their immune systems are weaker and they are more likely to have an underlying condition that increases their risk
- pregnant people, because their immune system, heart and lungs change especially later in pregnancy making them more likely to get seriously ill from the flu
- people with underlying health conditions, such as asthma, heart disease or diabetes
Myth #: Flu Vaccines Contain Harmful Ingredients
Vaccine skeptics point to inactive ingredients used in some versions of flu vaccines. Thimerosal is used as a preservative and formaldehyde is used in killing the live virus to make it inactivated, as noted above. Repeated studies have shown that these substances are not harmful in the tiny amounts contained in flu vaccines.
Myth #: I Dont Need The Vaccine I Never Get The Flu
Fact: Unfortunately, a flu-free history does not guarantee a flu-free future. Flu strains evolve and change over time, which means you are at risk every year you avoid getting vaccinated. In addition, when you skip your shot you can still carry and pass flu germs to others.
Influenza symptoms can leave us stuck in bed for days using up valuable vacation time. I always ask patients, why not save up those days for a sunny vacation instead?
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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.
Live Vs Inactivated Vaccines
Live attenuated vaccines contain a weakened, mild form of a virus or bacteria. The vaccine is meant to stimulate an immune response in the form of antibodies, a type of protein that fights off infection.
The live vaccines stand in contrast to vaccines that use dead bacteria or viruses. These inactivated, or killed, vaccines are still recognized by the immune system as harmful. So they lead to the same antibody response.
Live vaccines are meant to simulate a natural infection. They are thought to be better in doing so than the killed vaccines. Usually, they providelifelong protection with one or two doses.
Most killed vaccines need to be given with more than one dose for a complete vaccination. People also tend to need boosters years later to keep the same level of immune protection. Your tetanus vaccine, which uses inactivated tetanus toxin, is one common example.
Live attenuated vaccines have a long history of being safe and effective. People who are immunocompromised often avoid live vaccines, though. This is due to a lower level of immune function that means they may get ill if one is given.
Live attenuated vaccines currently licensed in the United States include:
- Adenovirus vaccine
- Chickenpox vaccine
- Rotavirus vaccines
- Smallpox vaccine
- Yellow fever vaccine
Is There More Than One Type Of Flu Shot Available
Yes. There are different flu vaccine manufacturers and multiple flu vaccines that are licensed and recommended for use in the United States.
CDC recommends use of any licensed, age-appropriate flu vaccine during the 2022-2023 flu season.
Available flu vaccines include:
- Standard-dose, unadjuvanted quadrivalent influenza shots that are manufactured using virus grown in eggs. These include Afluria Quadrivalent, Fluarix Quadrivalent, FluLaval Quadrivalent, and Fluzone Quadrivalent. Quadrivalent flu vaccines protect against four different flu viruses.
- A quadrivalent cell-based influenza shot containing virus grown in cell culture, which is licensed for people 6 months and older. This vaccine is egg-free.
- Recombinant quadrivalent influenza shot , an egg-free vaccine, approved for people 18 years and older.
- A quadrivalent flu shot using an adjuvant , Fluad Quadrivalent, approved for people 65 years of age and older.
- A quadrivalent high-dose influenza vaccine Fluzone High-Dose, which contains a higher dose of antigen to help create a stronger immune response, licensed for people 65 years and older.
- A live attenuated influenza vaccine , which is given intranasally with a nasal sprayer, instead of with a needle like other influenza vaccines. This vaccine is approved for people 2 through 49 years of age. Live attenuated influenza vaccine should not be given to people who are pregnant, immunocompromised persons, and some other groups.
Are There Any Contraindications To Giving Breastfeeding People The Nasal Spray Vaccine
Breastfeeding is not a contraindication for the nasal spray vaccine. Breastfeeding people younger than 50 years can get the nasal spray flu vaccine as long as they do not have a contraindication to getting that vaccine. Prevention and Control of Seasonal Influenza with Vaccines: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization PracticesUnited States, 202122 Influenza Season has a list of contraindications and precautions for the nasal spray vaccine.
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Who Should Not Get The Nasal Spray Flu Vaccine
Some people should not get the nasal spray flu vaccine:
- Children younger than 2 years old
- Adults 50 years and older
- People with a history of severe allergic reaction to any ingredient of the vaccine or to a previous dose of any flu vaccine
- Children 2 through 17 years old who are receiving aspirin- or salicylate-containing medications.
- Children 2 through 4 years old who have asthma or who have had a history of wheezing in the past 12 months
- People with weakened immune systems from any cause
- People who care for severely immunocompromised persons who require a protected environment
- People without a spleen, or with a non-functioning spleen
- Pregnant people
- People with an active leak between the cerebrospinal fluid and the mouth, nose, ear, or other place within the skull
- People with cochlear implants
- People who have taken flu antiviral drugs within a certain amount of time.
In addition, the following medical conditions are precautions to the use of the nasal spray flu vaccine:
- Asthma in people 5 years and older.
- Other underlying medical conditions that can put people at higher risk of serious flu complications. These include conditions such as lung disease, heart disease , kidney disease , kidney or liver disorders, neurologic/neuromuscular, or metabolic disorders. People at Higher Risk of Developing FluRelated Complications.
- Moderate or severe acute illness with or without fever.
- Guillain-Barré Syndrome within 6 weeks following a previous dose of flu vaccine.
Answering Your Covid Questions: Do Vaccines Contain A Live Virus
Johnson & Johnsons single-shot Janssen COVID-19 vaccine has been submitted for emergency use authorization from the FDA, meaning a new weapon could soon be added to the arsenal against coronavirus.
With a new vaccine possibly coming soon, WCPO 9 viewer Charles Wetzel asked on Facebook: I had heard that the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine contains a live virus. Is that true?
The short answer: no.
Dr. Steve Feagins, Hamilton County Public Health medical director and chief clinical officer at Mercy Health, explained that these vaccines dont use live viruses. Instead, they use an adenovirus vector, which is a weaker, genetically engineered virus.
It’s based on an adenovirus — almost the exact same vaccine used for Zika, shingles and meningitis — and so it’s a well-used adenovirus vector for vaccines, used in many vaccines in the past, Feagins said.
Its possible youve been infected with an adenovirus before. According to the CDC, adenovirus causes a range of illnesses, like bronchitis, pneumonia and conjunctivitis .
They can also cause cold-like symptoms, like a fever and sore throat. People with weakened immune systems or existing respiratory or cardiac diseases are more likely to get very sick from an adenovirus infection.
Similar to a flu vaccine, the most common side effects for current COVID-19 vaccines include pain at the injection site, and about one in five people may experience minor side effects like low-grade fever or nausea.
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Are You Contagious After A Flu Shot If You Experience Side Effects
The mild symptoms you might experience after getting vaccinated are an immune response, not the signs of an illness. Thats because even though the flu vaccine contains inactive virus, your immune system still recognizes it as an intruder and creates antibodies. This antibody creation is what can spur side effects, as well as get your body ready for a possible exposure to an active virus.
Can Nasal Spray Flu Vaccine Give Me Flu
Flu vaccines do not cause flu illness. The nasal spray flu vaccine contains weakened viruses, so that they will not cause flu illness. The weakened viruses are cold-adapted, which means they are designed to only multiply at the cooler temperatures found within the nose, and not the lungs or other areas where warmer temperatures exist.
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Same Target Different Approach
While the discussion above has focused on improving the influenza vaccine pipelines currently in use, such approaches are still limited by factors intrinsic to the TIV and LAIV platforms themselves. As such, it is likely that major improvements to influenza vaccines will come about through development of distinct vaccination platforms. Correspondingly, new vaccine delivery and manufacturing technologies are being investigated for use in production of influenza vaccines. These vaccine approaches include the use of vectored or expressed HA antigens and/or targeting of different viral antigens.
Can I Get Seasonal Flu Even Though I Got A Flu Vaccine This Year
Yes. Its possible to get sick with flu even if you have been vaccinated . This is possible for the following reasons:
You may be exposed to a flu virus shortly before getting vaccinated or during the period that it takes the body to gain protection after getting vaccinated. This exposure may result in you becoming ill with flu before the vaccine begins to protect you.
You may be exposed to a flu virus that is not included in the seasonal flu vaccine. There are many different flu viruses that circulate every year. A flu vaccine is made to protect against the three or four flu viruses that research suggests will be most common.
Unfortunately, some people can become infected with a flu virus a flu vaccine is designed to protect against, despite getting vaccinated. The protection provided by the flu vaccination can vary widely, based in part on the health and age factors of the person getting vaccinated. In general, a flu vaccine works best among healthy younger adults and older children. Some older people and people with certain chronic illnesses may develop less immunity after vaccination. Flu vaccination is not a perfect tool, but it is the best way to protect against flu infection.
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Who Should Not Have The Flu Vaccine
Most adults can have the flu vaccine, but you should avoid it if you have had a serious allergic reaction to a flu vaccine in the past.
You may be at risk of an allergic reaction to the flu vaccine injection if you have an egg allergy. This is because some flu vaccines are made using eggs.
Ask a GP or pharmacist for a low-egg or egg-free vaccine.
If you’re ill with a high temperature, it’s best to wait until you’re better before having the flu vaccine.
When To Get The Influenza Vaccine
Yearly vaccination before the onset of each flu season is recommended. In most parts of Australia, flu season occurs from June to September, with the flu vaccine typically available from April.
Recent evidence suggests optimal protection against the flu occurs within the first 3-4 months following vaccination. It is important to note that, while the influenza virus continues to circulate, it is never too late to vaccinate.
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What Are The Side Effects That Could Occur With The Nasal Spray Flu Vaccine
In children, side effects from the nasal spray may include:
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
In adults, side effects from the nasal spray vaccine may include:
- Runny nose
If these problems occur, they begin soon after vaccination and usually are mild and short-lived. People sometimes faint after medical procedures, including vaccination. Tell your provider if you feel dizzy or have vision changes or ringing in the ears. Rarely, people can experience a severe allergic reaction after a flu vaccine there are about 1-2 cases of severe allergic reactions per million flu vaccine doses administered and these reactions can be treated with medication. People who think that they have been injured by a flu vaccine can file a claim with the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program .
More information about the safety of flu vaccines is available at Influenza Vaccine Safety.
Why Is Flu Vaccine Typically Less Effective Against Influenza A Viruses
There are a number of reasons why flu vaccine effectiveness against influenza A viruses may be lower.
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Misconceptions About Stomach Flu
Is the stomach flu really flu?
No. Many people use the term stomach flu to describe illnesses with nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. These symptoms can be caused by many different viruses, bacteria or even parasites. While vomiting, diarrhea, and being nauseous or sick to your stomach can sometimes be related to flu more commonly in children than adults these problems are rarely the main symptoms of influenza. Flu is a respiratory disease and not a stomach or intestinal disease.
Achilles’ Heels Of The Current Influenza Vaccines
The success of current influenza vaccination campaigns depends heavily on extensive surveillance and manufacturing resources to ensure timely vaccine delivery. Given that each component of the vaccine is updated every 2 to 3 years on average, it is not too surprising that there are occasional problems. Some of the Achilles’ heels of the current influenza vaccine pipelines and the strategies needed to address them are summarized as follows.
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Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccines
LAIV is approved for use only in persons aged 249 years who do not have underlying medical conditions. The vaccine should, however, not be administered to pregnant women. LAIV is given as a nasal spray, 1 dose only but children aged 28 years who have not received seasonal influenza vaccine during the previous influenza season should receive 2 doses, at least 4 weeks apart.
LAIV is made from attenuated, or weakened, viruses and does not cause influenza, although it can cause mild signs or symptoms . Most common side effects from the vaccine are mild and transient compared to symptoms of influenza infection.
What Are Factors That Influence How Well Flu Vaccines Work
How well flu vaccines work can vary from season to season. Protection can vary depending on who is being vaccinated. At least two factors play an important role in determining the likelihood that vaccination will protect a person from flu illness: 1) characteristics of the person being vaccinated , and 2) how well the vaccines match the flu viruses spreading in the community. When flu vaccines are not well matched to one or more circulating influenza viruses, it is possible that vaccination may provide little or no protection from illness caused by those viruses, but still provide protection against other flu viruses that circulate during the season. When there is a good match between flu vaccines and circulating viruses, vaccination provides substantial benefits by preventing flu illness and complications.
Each flu season, researchers try to determine how well flu vaccines work as a public health intervention. Estimates of how well a flu vaccine works can vary based on study design, outcome measured, population studied and type of flu vaccine. Differences between studies must be considered when results are compared.
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