Influenza [Flu] is a common, yet serious disease that can lead to hospitalisation and sometimes even death. Every flu season is different, and influenza affects people differently. Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others.
How do vaccines work?
Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection.
- Traditional flu vaccines (called “trivalent” vaccines) are made to protect against three flu viruses – an influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus, and an influenza B virus.
- There are also flu vaccines made to protect against four flu viruses (called “quadrivalent” vaccines). These vaccines protect against the same viruses as the trivalent vaccine and an additional B virus.
What kinds of flu vaccines are available?
CDC(Centers for Disease Control) recommends the use of injectable influenza vaccines for the upcoming season over nasal spray flu vaccine (Live attenuated influenza vaccine or LAIV).
Who should get vaccinated?
Everyone aged 6 months or older should get a vaccinated every season. Particularly, people with chronic diseases, people with asthma, blood disorders, pregnant women, healthcare workers, individual with co-morbid conditions, etc.
Who Should Not Be Vaccinated?
- Children <6 months of age
- History of chicken egg allergy or history of severe or life-threatening hypersensitivity reaction to the flu vaccine or any ingredients in the vaccine which includes gelatin, antibiotics, etc.
- In the case of Acute febrile illness, vaccination should be postponed.
- First, the body’s immune response from vaccination declines over time, so an annual vaccine is needed for optimal protection.
- Second, because flu viruses are constantly changing, the formulation of the flu vaccine is reviewed each year and sometimes updated to keep up with changing flu viruses.