Why Should I Consider Getting The Flu Vaccine
Influenza is the most common vaccine-preventable disease in Australia. Although it can be a mild disease, it can also cause very serious illness in otherwise healthy people. Annual immunisation is the most effective way to reduce the risk of getting the flu and reducing the spread within the community.
The Flu Shot: What You Need To Know
Getting a flu shot each year is the best way to protect against the flu, and during COVID-19, a flu shot may be even more important.
Receiving a flu vaccine reduces the chance of flu-related doctor visits and hospitalizations, which can free up health care resources for others and protect vulnerable populations during the pandemic.
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.
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A New Antibody Discovered In The Blood Of Some People Vaccinated Against Or Infected With Influenza Can Recognize A Broad Variety Of Flu Viruses
- Scripps Research Institute
- Scientists have identified a new Achilles’ heel of influenza virus, making progress in the quest for a universal flu vaccine. Antibodies against a long-ignored section of the virus, which the team dubbed the anchor, have the potential to recognize a broad variety of flu strains, even as the virus mutates from year to year.
Scientists at Scripps Research, University of Chicago and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai have identified a new Achilles’ heel of influenza virus, making progress in the quest for a universal flu vaccine. Antibodies against a long-ignored section of the virus, which the team dubbed the anchor, have the potential to recognize a broad variety of flu strains, even as the virus mutates from year to year, they reported Dec. 23, 2021 in the journal Nature.
“It’s always very exciting to discover a new site of vulnerability on a virus because it paves the way for rational vaccine design,” says co-senior author Andrew Ward, PhD, professor of Integrative Structural and Computational Biology at Scripps Research. “It also demonstrates that despite all the years and effort of influenza vaccine research there are still new things to discover.”
“The human immune system already has the ability to make antibodies to this epitope, so it’s just a matter of applying modern protein engineering methods to make a vaccine that can induce those antibodies in sufficient numbers,” adds Guthmiller.
Where Can I Get A Flu Shot
There are more places than ever to get your flu vaccination. Doctorsâ offices, clinics, and health departments offer the flu shot but you may need to make an appointment in advance. Pharmacies have become an easy and convenient option to get your flu shot. At Walgreens, we offer flu shots whenever a pharmacist is on duty. Walk-ins are welcome, but if you’d prefer, you can make an appointment online. Find a location near you to ask about vaccine availability or schedule an appointment online.
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Children Aged 9 And Up
From the age of 9, children that get the flu vaccine receive a single dose of it, even if they have never received a flu vaccine before.
The immune system of a 9 year old child is indeed sufficiently developed to produce enough antibodies to protect them with a single dose of the vaccine.
Children who have certain chronic diseases can get vaccinated free of charge under the Flu Vaccination Program.
What Are The Side Effects Of Influenza Vaccine
Like all medicines, the flu vaccine can cause side effects, although not everyone gets them. Often side effects improve as your body gets used to the new medicine.
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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.
Who Should Avoid Getting The Flu Shot
Experts recommend the flu shot for most people aged 6 months and older.
However, the following people should talk to their doctor before getting the shot:
- those who are allergic to any ingredient in the flu shot or have had severe allergic reactions to the vaccine in the past
- those who have had Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare but severe paralyzing illness
- people with a current illness, such as a fever
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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.
It’s A Good Idea To Have Flu Vaccination If You Share A House With Children Who Have Long
Flu vaccination is also recommended for people sharing a house with children and young people with long-term medical conditions. The flu spreads rapidly within households and children are particularly efficient spreaders. It may not be free for household members. You could ask your employer about free or subsidised flu vaccinations, as many employers offer this to employees. Flu vaccination is free for some adults, eg, people over 65 years of age or with certain long-term conditions.
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People With Medical Conditions That Increase Their Risk Of Influenza
People aged 6 months with medical conditions specified in this List. Medical conditions associated with an increased risk of influenza disease and severe outcomes are strongly recommended to receive annual influenza vaccine.
People with these specific medical conditions have a higher risk of influenza or severe outcomes from influenza .9-29
People who have received a transplant
People who have had a haematopoietic stem cell transplant or solid organ transplant and are receiving influenza vaccine for the first time after transplant are recommended to receive:
- 2 doses at least 4 weeks apart the 1st time they receive influenza vaccine after the transplant
- 1 dose each year after that
Vaccine doses for people with the risk conditions in this list are funded under the NIP unless otherwise noted.
Functional or anatomical asplenia, including:
Cardiac disease, including:
Chronic neurological conditions, including:
|Long-term aspirin therapy in children aged 6 months to 10 years|
|Chronic liver diseasea|
|Children born less than 37 weeks gestationa|
|Harmful use of alcohola|
Pregnant women are strongly recommended to receive influenza vaccine in each pregnancy.
Children Less Than 6 Months Old
It is not recommended to vaccinate children aged less than 6 months. Indeed, the effectiveness of the vaccine has yet to be proven for children that age. The vaccine is therefore not offered to them.
However, children under 6 months of age can also catch the flu. Furthermore, they are among those who are more at risk of being hospitalized after the flu. Therefore, vaccination is recommended for members of the same household and informal caregivers of children under 6 months of age to avoid passing on the flu to them.
If you are a member of the same household or the informal caregivers of a child under 6 months of age, you can get vaccinated free of charge under the Flu Vaccination Program.
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What If I Am Over 65+
People aged 65 years and older can receive a newly registered adjuvanted flu vaccine, Fluad Quad, specifically designed to provide increased protection by creating a greater immune response. Please contact your Priceline Pharmacy GP for details and eligibility.
It’s not too late! Contact your local Priceline Pharmacy or book online today.
How To Relieve Flu Symptoms
If you have any flu-like symptoms it is important to get tested for COVID-19 immediately, even if your symptoms are mild.
In most cases you can treat the symptoms of a mild flu yourself. Most people will get better by themselves within 7 to 10 days and without any treatment.
Some things you can do to relieve flu symptoms include:
- Getting plenty of rest
- Drinking plenty of water and other non-alcoholic fluids to prevent dehydration
- Keeping warm
- Eating a healthy diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables
- Avoiding exposure to cigarette smoke if possible
- Inhaling steam from a hot bath or shower in a closed room to help relieve a blocked nose – remember to always directly supervise children near hot water
There are also several medicines available to ease cold and flu symptoms, such as pain and fever.
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More Ways You Can Help Protect Yourself Against The Flu
After you get your flu shot, continue to take steps to protect yourself and others from the flu and from COVID-19. That means frequent hand-washing, wearing a cloth mask and keeping a safe distance when youre in public spaces. Here are more ways you can help protect yourself and your community:
If youre feeling sick, stay home
Wash your hands throughout the day, especially after youve been in a public place or if you sneeze or cough
Avoid close contact with others and maintain a physical distance from others when youre in public spaces
Wear a cloth mask to cover your mouth and nose when youre around others. This helps protect others in case you may be infected
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily, like doorknobs, tables, countertops, phones and more
Annual Changes To Influenza Vaccines
Influenza vaccines can change from year to year with regard to:
- which vaccines are registered by the Therapeutic Goods Administration
- the indicated ages for each vaccine
Always check annual seasonal influenza statements published by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation on health.gov.au website and consult the product information for each vaccine.
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Do You Need The Flu Shot If You’ve Received The Covid
If youve already gotten the COVID-19 vaccine, it is also recommended and important that you get the flu shot this year. One covers you against the influenza virus, and the other covers you for the COVID-19 viruses. Theyre two distinct vaccines.
Every year, the flu vaccine is different.
This year, we suspect that the cases for the flu may increase.
Once you get the flu shot, it takes two weeks to become effective in your system. So the earlier you get it, the less exposure you have to others who are sick within your community.
Naci Influenza Working Group
Members: I Gemmill , L Cochrane, N Dayneka, R Harrison, K Klein, D Kumar, J Langley, J McElhaney, A McGeer, D Moore, S Smith, and B Warshawsky.
Former member: M Lavoie.
Liaison representatives: L Grohskopf .
Ex-officio representatives: C Bancej , P Wolfe-Roberge , and J Xiong .
Former ex-officio representative: K Watkins .
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‘what Is The Flu Shot’
Flu season has arrived, and you may have seen signs urging everyone to get a flu shot.
So what is the flu shot, exactly?
The flu shot is a vaccination that helps your body make the necessary antibodies it needs to fight off the influenza virus if you happen to get infected by it. Most flu shots contain influenza viruses that have been inactivated, so they cant infect you. Your immune system recognizes those inactive viruses as invaders, though, and creates antibodies to destroy similar-looking active virus cells if they appear in your body again.
Because the flu comes in many different varieties, the most common flu shot in the U.S. protects you against four strains of influenza. Some flu shots also contain ingredients called adjuvants that create a stronger immune response, and flu shots for people over age 65 come in a high dose version to stimulate the immune system even more.
The flu shot usually is given by injection into the upper arm. Its a quick, relatively painless procedure. Pro tip: Shake out and dangle your arm to relax it before and during the shot, and then keep your arm moving all day to minimize discomfort.
And if you just cant stand the thought of an injection, ask about getting the mist-based version of the flu shot instead. A health care professional will spray this mist up your nostrils — BOOM! Youre vaccinated. That said, the flu mist may not be as easy to find as the flu shot. Call ahead to find out if your doctor’s office or clinic offers it.
Are The Ingredients Safe
The various ingredients in flu shots work together to ensure that the vaccine is safe and effective. The specific ingredients vary between vaccines.
The ingredients may include:
- inactivated flu viruses that cannot cause flu
- chemicals that boost the bodys response to the vaccine, such as aluminum salts
- traces of preservatives to prevent contamination, such as formaldehyde and thimerosal
- stabilizers, such as gelatin
- egg proteins left over from the production process, as manufacturers grow the viruses in chicken eggs
- antibiotics to prevent bacterial growth
Flu shots have a good safety record, and many scientific studies have shown that these ingredients, and their proportions, are safe for most people. However, people with egg allergies should speak to a doctor before getting a flu shot.
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Whats In The Flu Vaccine
Flu vaccines also contain additives that make them safer and better working.
Adjuvants: These are ingredients that help boost your vaccine response. Adjuvanted vaccines can help people over 65 have a stronger immune response to the flu shot.
Thimerosal : This is a naturally occurring element used safely as a preservative for decades.
Formaldehyde: This kills viruses when making vaccines the amount in the flu shot is very small and not dangerous.
Antibiotics: They keep bacteria from growing in the vaccine during production. The amount of antibiotics in vaccines is small or undetectable. Antibiotics that many people are allergic to like penicillin arent used in vaccines.
Egg protein: This is found in some flu vaccines but not all. Most people who have egg allergies can still get a flu shot.
Latex: There is no latex in the vaccine liquid, but it may be used for the stopper on the vaccine vial or syringe. Latex allergic reactions from a flu shot are rare but possible.
Where Can I Get Vaccinated Against The Flu
People eligible for a free flu vaccineEligible people can get a free vaccination from their family doctor/general practice. It is usually the practice nurse who gives the vaccine. Many community pharmacies provide free flu vaccinations to people aged 13 years and older and pregnant women . People who are not eligible to receive a free flu vaccineThe flu vaccination is available from:
- your family doctor/general practice
Please contact your healthcare provider about the cost of getting the flu vaccine.
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Influenza Vaccine For 2021
|Flu vaccine for 2021|
Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and the flu vaccine