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
Influenza Immunisation And Covid
The influenza and the Pfizer and Astra Zeneca COVID-19 immunisations can be given at the same time, before or after each other. There is no need to leave a gap between these vaccinations.
However, a 3-day interval is needed between the COVID-19 Novavax vaccine and the FLUAD QUAD vaccine.
Can A Flu Vaccine Give Me The Flu
No. The way that flu vaccines are made, they cannot cause the flu. Flu shots are made from either flu viruses that have been inactivated OR with proteins from a flu virus. .
Nasal spray flu vaccine is made with weakened live flu viruses, and also cannot cause the flu. The weakened viruses are cold-adapted, which means they can only cause flu infection at the cooler temperatures found in your nose. These viruses cannot infect your lungs or other warmer areas of your body.
While some people may get mild side effects from a flu shot like a sore arm, a headache, muscle aches or a low fever, those side effects usually begin soon after the shot and only last 1 -2 days. These are actually signs that the vaccine is working and your body is building immunity.
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Recording The Flu Immunisation
The Ministry of Health is beginning to introduce a new way to record influenza immunisations in the National Immunisation Solution . The first phase of the NIS will be released to support the start of influenza vaccinations on 01 April 2022. The NIS will be available for all providers that would like to onboard and will be developed and enhanced throughout the year. Initially the NIS will operate alongside the current National Immunisation Register to support the transition.
All flu vaccinations will be collected in the NIS and this will be achieved through
- Providers that have an electronic Patient Management System that already integrates into the National Immunisation Register will continue to record flu vaccinations into their electronic PMS if it already links to the NIR. Nothing needs to be done differently. The NIS will capture these records direct from the NIR.
- All other providers can start using direct entry into the NIS via the Flu form which will be hosted in the COVID-19 Immunisation Register . The NIS will capture these records from the CIR.
*Commencing on Wed 30th March. If you think this first phase of the NIS will affect the way that you record flu, please get in touch with the NIS Team via . There are resources and elearning to support those that want to get involved in using the NIS. Please email the help desk to request access:
Can I Still Buy Influenza Vaccine For The 2022
Influenza vaccine pre-booking typically occurs between January and March. Some formulations of vaccine should still be available for purchase. Providers should contact distributors and local vendors about remaining supply. In addition, beginning in early October each year, information about manufacturers and distributors who still have influenza vaccine available for sale can be found at .
Updates on the distribution of influenza vaccine doses for the 2022-2023 season will be provided as the season progresses.
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How To Book Your Appointment
If you’re eligible for a free flu vaccine, you can book an appointment at your GP surgery or a pharmacy that offers it on the NHS.
You may also receive an invitation to get vaccinated, but you do not have to wait for this before booking an appointment.
Everyone who is eligible for the free flu vaccine will be able to get it.
GP surgeries and pharmacies get the flu vaccine in batches throughout the flu season. If you cannot get an appointment straight away, ask if you can book one for when more vaccines are available.
Clinical Trials Launching For New Mrna Flu Vaccines
- What: Testing for new type of flu vaccines based on mRNA technology .
- When: The Pfizer clinical trial is expected to start in mid-August. The Moderna clinical trial for a combined flu/COVID-19 vaccine will start later this summer or fall.
- Where:University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora
- Who is eligible to participate: The new mRNA flu vaccines are being tested first on older adults. People ages 65 to 85 who do not have a history of heart disease are eligible for the Pfizer clinical trial.
- How to get more information: People who wish to be screened to participate my call 720-777-4496 or send an email to
Innovations in vaccines are the direct result of global efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Levin has developed and tested vaccines for a variety of infections over several decades and said the recent progress is stunning.
The advancements in developing new approaches to fighting disease, developing vaccines and implementing them have been remarkable, Levin said.
COVID-19 vaccines clearly have saved millions of lives, he said. While more than a million people have died in the U.S. since the pandemic started, Levin said the death toll would have been far greater without the new mRNA vaccines.
We asked Levin to explain more about mRNA vaccines and the groundbreaking clinical trials that are starting this summer.
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Delivery Of The Flu Shot In 2022
Not all flu shots are the same. Some arent even shots. Here are your 2022 flu vaccine options:
Nasal Spray: The nasal spray vaccine is the only kind to include a live attenuated influenza vaccine. Although it cant give you the flu, it does have a higher likelihood of inducing flu-like symptoms. This vaccine does not contain thimerosal or other preservatives. Its available only for patients aged 2 to 49.
For: People who cant stand the needle or jet spray or who want to avoid preservatives.
Inactivated shots are usually given with a needle, but Afluria Quadrivalent can be given to adults with a jet injector, which is basically a high-powered spray that penetrates the skin.
For: Needles can be used for everyone aged 6 months and older. The jet spray is approved for adults aged 18 to 64.
Hse Launch Winter Vaccine Programme As Flu And Covid Booster Jabs To Be Offered
The flu and Covid jabs are available at participating GPs and pharmacies across the country,
The HSE has launched their winter vaccination programme, with the Irish public set to be offered jabs for the flu and boosters to protect them from the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
The programme got underway on Monday morning, with the rollout of the free flu vaccine to recommended groups, while those aged over 65 and all aged 12 and over with a weak immune system are invited for their next Covid vaccine.
The HSE is also reminding anyone who has not received their primary vaccine or their booster doses, or who has had Covid and has had to wait 4 months for their booster to book an appointment as soon as possible.
The flu and Covid jabs are available at participating GPs and pharmacies across the country, while 15 HSE centres also continue to offer Covid vaccines and boosters.
Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD said: “As the weather becomes cooler and the nights become darker, all of our thoughts turn to how best we can protect ourselves and our loved ones from the worst impacts of COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses that circulate at this time of year.
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What Are The Ba4 And Ba5 Subvariants
Both BA.4 and BA.5 are considered part of the “original” omicron variant family. They’re newer versions of the virus that causes COVID-19. BA.5 quickly overtook the conversation and is now the dominant variant in the US.
While we’re still living out the true effects of a BA.5 summer surge in the US, the new subvariant is thought to whittle away much of the infection protection people got from prior sickness, even with other omicron variants.
Omicron caused such a huge number of cases last winter because it was the most contagious variant to date, evading some infection protection from prior illness and effectiveness of the vaccines. The fact that newer versions of omicron are proving to be even more contagious isn’t a big surprise, as this is the path COVID-19 has taken over the last two and half years.
Who Is Eligible To Participate In The Clinical Trials For The Mrna Flue Vaccines
The first phase of the Pfizer mRNA flu vaccine clinical trial aims to test the vaccine on people ages 65 to 85 since older adults are at the greatest risk if they get sick with the flu . If the clinical trials for mRNA flu vaccines go well, later phases will test the new vaccines on younger adults and possibly in children.
The study participants will need to be able to come to the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora.
Like all clinical trials, they will get compensated for their time and effort, Levin said.
Along with qualifying based on their age, study participants need to be healthy and cant have a history of heart disease.
In rare cases about 1 out of every 100,000 young men who received mRNA COVID-19 vaccines experienced heart abnormalities called myocarditis. This was not a problem for older people.
Levin said those who experienced myocarditis recovered.
But, out of an abundance of caution, we are now looking to avoid potential heart issues in older people to make sure there are not problems.
Well get an EKG on everybody when we screen them. And after the first dose, well do another EKG.
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Are There Delays In The Distribution Of Influenza Vaccine
Currently, influenza vaccine manufacturers are not reporting any expected delays in national flu vaccine supply or distribution this season.
Influenza vaccine production and distribution in the U.S. are primarily private sector endeavors. CDC encourages manufacturers and distributors to use a distribution strategy in which providers receive smaller shipments to allow as many providers as possible to begin vaccination activities early in the vaccination season. Ideally, the intervals between shipments are short so that each provider has a continuous supply and can continue vaccinating patients without interruption. While no important delays have been reported, in some places, robust demand for vaccine and supplies required to support flu vaccination efforts, like needles or syringes, may mean that some providers run out of vaccine or other supplies before their next shipment has arrived. An allocation system can initially limit the size of individual orders. However, as supplies become available in increasing numbers, supply is expected to catch up with demand. Additionally, because vaccine manufacturing has been extended to support the production of a record number of flu vaccine doses this year, providers are likely to receive more shipments throughout the season.
To make sure your provider has flu vaccine available, call ahead to confirm availability. There also may be other locations in your area that have vaccine available.
Influenza In New Zealand
Influenza can be a serious illness and poses a significant public health issue in New Zealand. Immunisation provides the best protection against flu, and demand for the vaccine in New Zealand is increasing.
Some people are at greater risk of becoming seriously ill if they catch flu, including Mori and Pacific people aged 55 and over, other people aged 65 and over, those with chronic conditions like heart disease, cancer, diabetes and serious asthma pregnant women, and young children with a history of serious respiratory illnesses. For these groups of people, the vaccination is free of charge through primary care providers and community pharmacy.
For further information on this diseases symptoms and treatments go to Influenza.
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Flu Vaccine Side Effects
Flu vaccines are very safe. All adult flu vaccines are given by injection into the muscle of the upper arm.
Most side effects are mild and only last for a day or so, such as:
- a slightly raised temperature
- sore arm where the needle went in this is more likely to happen with one of the vaccines for people aged 65 and over
Try these tips to help reduce the discomfort:
- continue to move your arm regularly
- take a painkiller, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen some people, including those who are pregnant, should not take ibuprofen unless a doctor recommends it
What If I Want To Participate In The Clinical Trials But I Also Want To Get My Regular Flu Shot This Fall
Volunteers who join the Pfizer study should be done participating in the clinical trial by the time they would get their regular flu shot this fall.
Were hoping to have all the information we need by the time flu season hits, Levin said. Its very rare to have flu outbreaks before December. Usually the flu hits in January or later. This is planned so people can get their standard flu vaccine if its still recommended after getting the mRNA flu vaccine.
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What Is An Mrna Vaccine
mRNA vaccines instruct our cells to produce a harmless protein or even just a piece of a protein. This teaches the immune system to recognize and neutralize pathogens carrying the proteins when a person becomes infected in the future, explains Braunstein.
Spike protein, carried by SARS-CoV-2, is the most well-known example, but other viruses, including influenza, also carry signature proteins on their surface, he said.
Invented by Hungarian biochemist Katalin Karikó, PhD, and licensed by BioNTech, the technology is the basis for the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.
This approach has permitted successful immunization of hundreds of millions of people against Covid-19, Doris J. Bucher, PhD, associate professor of microbiology and immunology at the New York Medical College, told Healthline.
Who Should Get The Free Flu Vaccine
This year the free flu vaccine is recommended for you if you are in one of these groups:
- Aged 65 or over
- Children aged 2 17
- At any stage of pregnancy
- People with certain long term medical conditions that put them at increased risk from the complications of flu
From October 17th the childrens flu nasal spray vaccine will also be available free for all children aged 2 to 17 years from GPs and Pharmacies.
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Clinical Trials For Entirely New Mrna Flu Vaccines Launching Soon Will They Work Better
An entirely new type of flu vaccine could better protect people from influenza, and clinical trials of the vaccines are starting this month.
The new flu vaccines are based on mRNA technology, the same method that was used to create the most common and successful U.S. COVID-19 vaccines, those made by Pfizer and Moderna.
These vaccines use messenger RNA to teach cells to make proteins. These proteins dont cause illness, but are the same type that wed get during a COVID-19 or flu infection. The vaccines then train the immune system to prevent actual infections.
The first group of participants in Colorado 50 people ages 65 to 85 could start receiving mRNA flu vaccines as early as mid-August. Thats when Dr. Myron Levin, an expert on infectious diseases and vaccines, expects to enroll older adults for the first round of testing at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. Patients at the UCHealth Seniors Clinic will be able to volunteer for the study, as will other older adults.
The Colorado site is one of about 25 across the country where Pfizer will be conducting early tests on a new mRNA flu vaccine.
In the coming weeks, Levin also expects to enroll volunteers for another clinical trial realted to mRNA flu vaccines. Moderna has created a new vaccine that aims to provide combined protection against both flu and COVID-19, including the most recent variants of COVID-19.
Why Are Older People At Greater Risk If The Get The Flu
As we age, our immune systems also age and they dont work as well at spotting and fighting intruders like the influenza virus or the virus that causes COVID-19.
When the immune system ages, its called immune senescence, Levin said. Our bodies dont respond as well to vaccines or infections. Thats why when were 85 or 90, we dont do as well with pneumonia or other infections, Levin said.
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