With Australians studying to dwell with COVID and resuming worldwide journey, circumstances of influenza are steadily rising.
Getting a flu shot reduces your probability of catching the flu brought on by 4 flu virus strains coated by the vaccine, and reduces the chance of extreme problems and hospitalisations.
An annual flu vaccine is really useful for adults and kids six months and older – except you might have a historical past of anaphylactic reactions to the vaccine or your physician advises in opposition to it.
There are totally different manufacturers and sorts of flu vaccines. So when reserving in on your shot, your well being supplier will focus on the best choice for you.
What are the choices?
In the event you’re over 65, you’re more likely to be provided an “adjuvanted” (Fluad Quad) vaccine. These aged over 60 can even entry the high-dose vaccine (Fluzone Excessive-Dose Quad).
If you wish to keep away from vaccines made with eggs, you’ll be able to ask for a cell-based vaccine (Flucelvax Quad).
However for many different Australians, there isn’t a lot of a distinction between manufacturers – Vaxigrip Tetra, Fluarix Tetra, Afluria Quad, FluQuadri, Influvac Tetra – except for their suitability for various age teams.
GPs and pharmacists will usually inventory one or two of those manufacturers or whichever their state or territory governments provides.
Ought to I get the 2022 flu vaccine? And the way efficient is it?
In contrast to in earlier years, all eight flu vaccines out there this yr are “quadrivalent”, that means every vaccine protects in opposition to 4 strains of flu viruses.
The strains are predicted to be probably the most generally circulating strains, primarily based on developments noticed within the Northern Hemisphere winter.
Flu vaccines are “inactivated”, which suggests they don’t comprise dwell viruses and might by no means give anybody the flu.
For individuals 65 years and older, “adjuvanted” or immune-boosting (Fluad Quad®) or high-dose vaccines (Fluzone Excessive-Dose Quad®) are really useful, as older individuals are likely to have weaker immune methods.
Vaccines work by activating an individual’s personal immune system. The “adjuvanted” vaccine prompts a stronger immune response and is subsequently simpler at stopping the flu in older age teams than the usual vaccines.
Excessive-dose vaccines ship the next dose than normal flu vaccines and are additionally simpler than the usual vaccines at lowering transmission and stopping extreme illness in older age teams.
Adjuvanted vaccines are free for over-65s below the Nationwide Immunisation Program.
In the event you’re 60 or over, you’ll be able to select a high-dose vaccine, though you will have to pay for it, relying on native authorities packages.
Cell-based vaccines don’t use eggs
The flu vaccines are both egg-based or cell-based. Historically, flu vaccines have been egg-based, that means the flu viruses have been grown in fertilised hens’ eggs.
However individuals with egg allergy symptoms can safely get the egg-based flu vaccine. The quantity of egg protein left in every vaccine on the finish of the manufacturing course of is lower than 1 microgram, a lot lower than the estimated quantity of 130 micrograms required to trigger an allergic response.
In recent times, newer medical expertise has led to the manufacturing of cell-based flu vaccines. Right here, the virus is grown in host cells. So individuals who want to keep away from egg merchandise might select a cell-based vaccine as an alternative.
Presently, Flucelvax Quad is the one cell-based flu vaccine accepted to be used in Australia and can be appropriate for kids from two years of age.
Flu vaccine will not undoubtedly cease you from getting the flu, nevertheless it’s extra essential than you assume
Some research have proven cell-based vaccines are higher at triggering the physique’s immune response.
It is because the viruses used to make cell-based vaccines are extra much like circulating wild flu viruses – and the nearer it resembles the true factor, the simpler it’s.
Nevertheless, Flucelvax Quad isn’t at the moment funded below the Nationwide Immunisation Program, so that you’ll have to pay your self, even for those who’re eligible for a free vaccine below the nationwide program.
When is one of the best time to get vaccinated?
It takes seven to 14 days for our physique to reply to a vaccine. When you obtain the vaccine, your physique begins to recognise the 4 strains of flu viruses and begins to develop an immune response over the course of about two weeks.
As soon as this happens, once you come into contact with a number of of those 4 strains of viruses, your physique’s personal immune response will have the ability to shield and forestall you from getting sick.
The flu season usually peaks in Australia between July to September. The vaccine will present the best degree of safety for 3 to 4 months. So late Might to early June is mostly one of the best time to get it.
For individuals travelling abroad, your physician or pharmacist can advise you on what’s greatest for you primarily based on the place and once you’re travelling.
The flu vaccine will also be given concurrently most different vaccines, together with COVID vaccines. It’s additionally secure – and really useful – in being pregnant.
Ought to I get the flu shot if I am pregnant?
What are the unwanted effects?
Individuals might expertise chilly and flu-like signs for as much as 24–48 hours after getting the vaccine. This reveals the physique’s immune response is kicking in and the vaccine is working.
You possibly can take over-the-counter ache medicines similar to paracetamol or ibuprofen to alleviate these signs.
Different frequent unwanted effects might embody native injection website reactions similar to redness, delicate swelling and tenderness. This could subside inside 48 hours with none therapy. Making use of ice or a chilly pack might help.
Some individuals might develop extra extreme reactions, together with anaphylaxis (a extreme, life-threatening allergic response) in extraordinarily uncommon circumstances. That is additionally why your physician or pharmacist recommends ready on-site for quarter-hour after vaccination for monitoring.
In the event you’ve had a extreme response to any vaccine previously, it’s essential to inform your physician or pharmacist.
As flu circumstances surge, vaccination might provide some bonus safety from COVID as nicely
Tin Fei Sim is affiliated with Curtin College and the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia.