When To Have The Flu Vaccination
Have the vaccination before the flu virus starts to circulate in the population. This is most likely to happen during the winter months. Flu season in the UK is usually between December and March.
New vaccines are developed each year and vaccination clinics usually start in late September and continue through to mid November. You can contact your GP to find out about clinic times. Or you might be able to have it at your local pharmacist. It is still worth having the vaccine after this time if you haven’t had it.
When to have it if you are having cancer treatment
Cancer specialists generally recommend that you should have the flu vaccine before you start any cancer treatment. But this isnt always possible.
For many cancer types, your specialist may advise you to have the vaccine during treatment if you havent had one. They will explain when it is best to have this. This might depend on different factors, such as the level of white blood cells in your blood. For example, with chemotherapy, you might have it towards the end of one cycle and just before you start another cycle. The vaccine might not give you as much protection as it would a person whose immunity is not low. But it is still important for most people to have it.
Your specialist may recommend that you do not have a vaccine during treatment if you have a blood cancer. Cancers of the blood include leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma. They can let you know when you can have a vaccine after your treatment has finished.
Flu Vaccine Myth Buster
There are many myths circulating on the flu this year. Read the facts behind the most common myths.
False claim: Its not safe to get my flu jab at the NHS
Mythbuster #1: The NHS has taken every precaution to protect you and put robust plans in place to provide flu jabs in a COVID-safe way. If you are invited for a flu jab appointment, it’s important you attend. It’s much safer to get the jab than not.
False claim: The flu jab gives you serious side effects
Mythbuster #2: Only 1 in a million people get serious side effects from the flu jab. Mild side effects are more common, but far less serious than the possible effects of flu which can cause serious illness or death. The flu jab is the best protection for you and those around you.
False claim: The flu jab is not halal
Mythbuster #3: It is only the child vaccine which is a nasal spray which includes porcine gelatin. The British Fatwa council has permitted the use of the nasal spray in children. This year, the NHS will also offer the non-porcine flu injection to children who cannot consume porcine to make the vaccine more accessible. You should discuss your options with your nurse or doctor.
False claim: The flu vaccine comes with a microchip implant
False claim: The flu vaccine will give you the flu
False claim: The flu vaccine will make you test positive for Covid-19
False claim: The flu vaccine itself is not safe
False claim: The flu shot contains Covid-19
False claim: The flu nasal spray can make your child unwell
Who Should Not Get A Flu Vaccine
Children younger than 6 months cannot get a flu shot. Those who have had a severe allergic reaction to a flu vaccine in the past should not get that type of flu shot again, and they should speak with their health care provider about whether they can receive another type of flu shot, the CDC says.
Similarly, people who have had a life-threatening reaction to ingredients in flu vaccines besides egg proteins shouldn’t get flu vaccines with those ingredients and they should speak with their health care provider about whether there is a flu vaccine that’s right for them, the CDC says. These other ingredients might include gelatin or antibiotics, which are added to some flu shots to prevent bacterial contamination during manufacturing.
People with egg allergies can still receive any type of flu shot that’s recommended for their age group, even if the flu shot is made with egg-based technology , the CDC says. Studies have found that people with egg allergies are very unlikely to experience a severe reaction to flu vaccines. People who’ve had a severe allergic reaction to eggs should get their flu shot under the supervision of a health care provider who can treat severe allergic reactions, the CDC says. In addition, several types of flu shots are egg-free, including recombinant flu vaccines and cell-based flu vaccines.
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Safety And Side Effects
Side effects associated with the vaccine are:
- runny or stuffy nose
- high temperature
- nose bleeds
- allergic reactions
Additional information about vaccine side effects, anaphylaxis and adverse reactions can be found here.
There is no evidence that healthy unvaccinated people can catch flu from the nasal flu spray .
It is known that vaccinated children shed the virus for a few days after vaccination . However, the vaccine virus is weakened, and so it is much less able to spread from person to person than flu viruses that circulate during the flu season, and it cannot grow inside the body. The amount of virus that children shed is normally below the levels needed to pass on infection to others. The virus does not survive for long outside the body.
It is therefore not necessary for children to be excluded from school during the period when the vaccine is being given. The only exception is the very small number of children who are extremely immunocompromised . These children are usually advised not to attend school anyway, because of the higher risk of being in contact with infections that circulate in schools.
The nasal flu spray should not be given to anyone who is severely immunodeficient due to a medical condition or treatment with an immunosuppressive therapy such as:
This is because the weakened viruses in the vaccine could replicate too much and cause infection.
How Dangerous Is Influenza
When we talk about the flu, we arent talking about the common cold. The cold is considered a minor nuisance, typically treated with over-the-counter medicine. The flu, on the other hand, is not something to be ignored. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that flu-related deaths were as high as 56,000 during 2012-2013.
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Can A Flu Shot Make You Get Sick
It isnt out of the ordinary to react to the flu shot, as its simply a sign that your immune system getting to work protecting you. Common responses include a sore arm, headache, nausea, muscle aches or a mild fever. The vaccine itself is adapted every year, Dr. Ford says. So its very hard to predict, from one year to the next, if youre going to have a mild reaction, no reaction or a more problematic reaction.
However, if you do get sick after getting a flu shot, its not because of the vaccine. The only direct reactions to the shot are going to happen within the first 24 to 48 hours, Dr. Ford affirms. As mentioned before, if you get sick after that, people might think its related to getting the flu shot. But its just a coincidence.
Some Vaccines Are Better Suited Than Others
Michael Clements, a GP and spokesperson for the Australia Medical Association Queensland, said there is a difference between the flu vaccines you pay for, and those that are free.
Dr Clements said the best vaccine is the free one offered by the Government to those who are eligible that is, people aged over 65, under the age of five, and those with chronic illnesses.
These vaccines are considered superior by doctors because they are specially purchased by the Government to meet the specific needs of those groups.
For example, those aged over 65 need a stronger vaccine compared to the rest of the population.
The vaccine for the rest of the population available from a GP, pharmacy, or offered by an employer can be provided by different brands through private contracts.
Dr Clements said, vaccines are considered inferior for over-65s, children and the chronically ill, they are completely fine for the fit and healthy population.
It’s important to note that all influenza vaccines administered in Australia are approved by the Therapeutical Goods Administration.
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Will I Be Safe When I Go For The Flu Vaccine If Covid
While COVID-19 is in circulation, providers of flu vaccination will have measures in place to keep you safe. Staff giving the vaccine will be wearing protective equipment to protect both you and themselves from the virus. Appointment times may also be scheduled to reduce numbers in the waiting area or you may be asked not to arrive early.
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.
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Who Is Eligible And How To Get The Vaccine
The UK is gradually introducing annual flu vaccination for all children. There are some differences between the programmes in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Eligibility for the flu vaccine can change from year to year, so it is important to check your eligibility each flu season.
In the 2022-23 season, the nasal flu spray will be available for free to the following groups in England:
- All children aged 2 or 3 on 31st August 2022
- All children in Primary school
- Secondary school children in years 7, 8 and 9 – any remaining vaccine will be offered to children in years 10 and 11, subject to vaccine availability
- Children and young people aged 2 to 17 who are ‘at risk’ of developing complications from flu, such as those with long-term health conditions including:
- Respiratory diseases, including asthma
- Heart disease, kidney disease or liver disease
- Neurological conditions including learning disability
- A severely weakened immune system , a missing spleen, sickle cell anaemia or coeliac disease
- Being seriously overweight
Note that the eligibility criteria for the 2022/23 season are different to those in the 2021/22 season, so some people who were eligible for the flu vaccine last year may not be eligible this year.
If a child has missed the flu vaccine in school, they can also receive the vaccine from their GP surgery.
Your doctor may recommend the flu vaccine in other circumstances as well.
How Effective Is The Nhs Flu Immunisation Programme
The flu vaccine works better in some years than others . In children aged 2-17, the flu vaccine prevented 66% of flu cases in 2016-17, 27% of flu cases in 2017-18, 49% of flu cases in 2018-19 and 45% of flu cases in 2019-20 .
The aim is to protect children and also people around them, particularly those at risk of complications of flu. If children get flu they can remain infectious for longer than adults , and they are also more likely to pass on the infection. There is good evidence to show that vaccinating children against flu is a good way to reduce flu-related illness, GP visits, hospital admissions and deaths for the whole community.
Overall, since the programme began, the impact of the nasal flu vaccine has been greatest in pilot areas of the UK where children in all primary school years have been offered vaccination. This includes the whole of Scotland and Northern Ireland. In 2015 Public Health England published a study evaluating the impact of these flu vaccination pilot programmes in 2014-15 . The study showed that the programme in the pilot areas had a significant impact on flu in children and the community as a whole.
As well as offering the nasal flu vaccine to all primary school children, Scotland and Northern Ireland had higher rates of vaccine uptake than England.
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Myth #: You Don’t Need To Get The Flu Vaccine Every Year
There are two reasons why doctors recommend that people get the flu vaccine every year, Cunningham told Live Science.
For one, the strains of the flu virus that are circulating change from year to year. “It’s like the common cold there’s more than one type of virus that causes the flu,” and, in fact, there are hundreds of influenza viruses, he said. Each year, health officials identify the virus strains that are the most likely to cause illness during the upcoming flu season, according to the CDC.
Second, the immunity you develop after getting the shot wanes by the following year. “If you get your shot in August, you’ll be safe through March, but those antibodies won’t be for the next flu season,” Cunningham said.
Is The Flu Vaccine Safe
The flu vaccine is safe for most people and is recommended for everyone ages 6 months and older. People who should not receive flu vaccines are those who have had a severe allergic reaction to the flu or other vaccine in the past and those who have had a condition called Guillan-Barre syndrome.
If you have questions about your specific medical conditions, call your doctor to ask if its safe for you to get a flu vaccine.
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Covid Booster Shot 101
First off, make sure you’re eligible for a COVID vaccine booster. All U.S. adults age 18+ are eligible to receive a booster, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as long as….
- It’s been at least 6 months since you finished your initial mRNA vaccine series .
- It’s been at least 2 months since you got your Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine.
FYI, you’re allowed to mix and match vaccines, according to the CDC. So, even if you got Moderna for your first and second dose, if your pharmacy or doctor only has doses of the Pfizer booster shot, that’s totally fine. In fact, there’s some evidence showing that mixing and matching different vaccines may offer increased protection against COVID-19 infection, but more comprehensive research is still underway, so you shouldn’t necessarily seek out a different brand for your booster.
If You Are Living In An Area Under A Local Lockdown Will Getting Your Flu Vaccine Count As Essential Travel
Providers need to be prepared to make adjustments to the programme in the face of any local restrictions to ensure those at highest risk can continue to be vaccinated. Providers will be expected to deliver the programme according to guidelines on social distancing that are current at the time. Standard operating procedures in the context of COVID-19 have been issued for General Practice, community pharmacy, and community health services.
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Flu Vaccine And Cancer Treatment
Cancer or its treatment can lower your resistance to infection and make you more likely to catch flu. The flu vaccination makes it less likely that you will catch flu.
Flu is an infection caused by a virus. It is very infectious. You mainly catch it from coughs and sneezes of people who have the virus. The symptoms of flu often come on quickly and include:
- a high temperature
- extreme tiredness
Anyone who has flu feels quite unwell. But most healthy people recover within a few days as their immune system gets rid of the virus. Occasionally people develop complications, such as severe chest infections. These are serious illnesses which can need hospital treatment. A small number of people die due to complications.
Who Should Not Get The Nasal Flu Vaccine
- have had a severe allergic reaction to a previous dose of the flu vaccine or any of its ingredients
- have severe asthma or if they have been wheezy or needed their inhaler more than usual in the 3 days before the vaccination
- are taking medicines called salicylates, which include aspirin
- have taken influenza antiviral medication within the previous 48 hours
- have a severely weakened immune system because of certain medical conditions or treatments
- are living with someone who has a severely weakened immune system – for example, a person who has to live in insolation in the months following a bone marrow transplant
- have a condition which means they have a leak of cerebrospinal fluid – the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord
- have severe neutropoenia , except for those with primary autoimmune neutropenia
- are on combination checkpoint inhibitors, for example ipilumumab plus nivolumab, which are used to treat cancer
- are pregnant
- have a cranial cerebrospinal fluid leak
Your child may not be able to have the nasal flu vaccine if they have had a cochlear implant. Ask your child’s hearing specialist if your child can have the nasal flu vaccine.
Get specialist advice if your child needs regular oral steroids or they have previously needed ICU care for asthma.
The Flu Shot Wont Make You Sick
The flu vaccine itself will not make you sick. It is medically impossible to catch the flu from the vaccine. While a tiny amount of the virus is used to make the shot, it cannot generate an active infection within your body. You will probably be sore where you get the shot, but that is simply your immune system making protective antibodies to fight off the real influenza virus.
In the fall, when the newest flu vaccine becomes available, lots of other viruses begin circulating. If you feel sick after getting the shot, it is likely that you were already going to get ill before you received the vaccination.