Vaccine Versus Natural Immunity
Many people who have had COVID-19 feel the prolonged symptoms are just a part of obtaining immunity and that getting the vaccine isnt necessary. However, data is starting to indicate that getting the vaccine is the best preventive measure even if youve been infected.
There is good data and research showing memory T-cells persist after acute infection, but how these collaborate with or depend on the help of antibodies, which do wane overtime after acute infection, remains unclear, Dr. Meeker said. Its generally felt that the combination of natural immunity plus vaccination in adults is the best long-term protection, but we need more data to know for sure.
Hopefully, open and honest medical expert debate, along with more clinical research and data collection, will help us answer these important questions.
What’s New With The 2021
There are many types of flu virusesand each consistently changes. This means that the U.S. flu vaccines are reviewed every year to prevent against the currently circulating flu viruses. This year’s vaccines are all “quadrivalent,” according to the CDC, meaning they’re designed to protect against four different viruses that cause the flu.
What If I Get The Flu And Covid
Simultaneous infections like these have so far been rare. A spring 2020 study in New York City, for instance, found that after testing about 1,200 Covid-19 patients for co-infection with other respiratory viruses, like influenza, only 3 percent had simultaneous infections.
Kids may be more likely than adults, though, to get multiple infections at the same time. When we look at the kids who have been hospitalized for the coronavirus, often they have more than one respiratory virus, Dr. Fradin said. Generally, people with both infections would be treated similarly to those infected with one, she added flu patients might be given antiviral drugs, for instance.
But because so few people have had the flu and Covid-19 at the same time, we still dont know much about how sick they generally become, Dr. Palese said. There are some cases which are really bad, he said, and some that havent been all that serious. Still, Dr. Gandhi stressed that the possibility of simultaneous infection is yet another reason to get a flu vaccine. Being co-infected with two very serious illnesses is never a situation you want to be in, she said.
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Myth #: The Flu Vaccine Isn’t Safe For Pregnant Women
Studies show flu vaccines are safe for women in any stage of pregnancy, the CDC says. There are several reasons why it’s important for pregnant women to get a flu shot, Schaffner said.
“Pregnant women, when they get influenza, have a tendency to get a more severe disease,” and are at increased risk for complications and hospitalization from the disease, Schaffner said.
In addition, flu vaccination in pregnancy helps to protect the baby against flu during the first six months of life, when the baby is too young to receive a flu shot, Schaffner said. The mother “passes that protection on to her newborn baby,” Schaffner said.
Managing Side Effects After Immunisation
Common side effects following immunisation are usually mild and temporary . Specific treatment is not usually required. There are several treatment options that can reduce the side effects of the vaccine including:
- Drinking extra fluids and not overdressing if there is a fever.
- Although routine use of paracetamol after vaccination is not recommended, if pain and fever are present, paracetamol can be given check the label for the correct dose or speak with your pharmacist .
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Long Term Side Effects
In rare cases, the live shingles vaccine, Zostavax, can cause a skin rash or shingles.
The rash that occurs with shingles can affect any area of the body, but it often appears as a line of blisters that wraps around the torso.
Within a few days the blisters cluster, and they continue to form for several more days. The blisters can take 2â3 weeks to heal, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
Other common symptoms of shingles include:
two shingles vaccines for adults: the recombinant zoster vaccine and the zoster virus vaccine .
Side Effects Of The Flu Shot Are Nothing Compared With Flu Sickness
The potential risks of a severe case of influenza far outweigh any very limited risk of side effects , which are typically mild, she says.
Some people equate the flu with having a bad cold. While the flu and the common cold have some symptoms in common, the flu can knock people flat for a few days to as long as two weeks, and it can also have far more dire consequences.
Some people who get the flu will develop complications such as pneumonia, inflammation of the heart , inflammation of the brain , or respiratory failure, which can lead to hospitalization and death, notes the CDC.
Even if youve been vaccinated and still get the flu, you are less likely to die, be hospitalized, or be admitted to the ICU, Horney says.
While incidence of the flu was unusually low last year, thanks to COVID-19 precautions like mandatory masking and stay-at-home orders, the CDC estimates that the 20192020 flu season led to some 400,000 hospitalizations and 22,000 flu deaths.
And we could potentially see numbers like that again this year. As people return to offices and classrooms, and COVID-19 vaccinations lead to more mask-free gatherings, doctors are expecting a major uptick in flu cases this fall and winter.
Indeed, reduced population immunity could result in an early, and possibly severe, flu season, cautions the CDC.
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Q: Is The Flu Vaccine Safe For Pregnant Women
A: As a general guide, any females that are pregnant, planning to be pregnant or breastfeeding, should discuss with their Doctor as to whether they obtain the flu vaccine during their first trimester. The Australian Immunisation Handbook, published by the National Health and Medical Research Council, recommends vaccination for pregnant women who will be in the their second and or third trimester during the flu season due to evidence from a number of studies that suggest an increased risk of developing flu-associated complications. Please advise our practitioners at the time of vaccinating if you are pregnant.
Is It Too Late To Get The Flu Vaccine For The 2021
The CDC recommends getting vaccinated early in the seasonideally by the end of October.
But its not too late to get a flu vaccine this year: Physicians say now is still a good time to get one. Flu cases typically rise in February and can continue into May. And since it takes about two weeks to build strong immunity post-vaccine, the sooner you get inoculated the better.
Keep in mind: Since getting a flu vaccine is not a guarantee that you wont get the flu, its important to continue to follow other public health best practices.
Everyone still needs to be mindful of things such as avoiding close contact with people who are sick, covering your nose and mouth when you sneezepreferably with a tissue, so it can be discarded afterwardand using good hand hygiene, such as washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rubs, and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth when possible, Lee Nguyen, Pharm.D., associate clinical professor for the department of clinical pharmacy practice at the University of California-Irvine, tells SELF.
If youre interested in getting a flu vaccine, you can get one through your primary care physician if you have one, or another health care professional, as well as through many pharmacies and public health departments. Sometimes, flu vaccination clinics are set up in workplaces or other frequently visited locations within a community.
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Can I Get The Influenza Vaccine And Covid
You can get the Pfizer or AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and the flu vaccine but not on the same day. You should wait at least 7 days between receiving a dose of COVID-19 vaccine and the flu vaccine.
You arent required to have the vaccines in any particular order. The order will likely depend on vaccine availability, so you may receive whichever vaccine you have access to first.
If youre having the Pfizer vaccine, this means you may be able to get a flu vaccination in between the 2 doses, if appropriate.
In special cases, your healthcare provider may consider shortening the time period between the different vaccines or they may suggest you receive the vaccines on the same day. This will only be considered if:
- theres a high risk that youll be exposed to one of the diseases
- its highly likely that the opportunity of receiving either vaccine will be missed
If this is suggested, youll be counselled about any possible adverse events from each vaccine. Youll be advised to report any adverse events.
Vaccines For Adults 65+
Influenza can make older adults very sick. Two vaccines are approved just for seniors to give better protection against the flu. A high-dose flu vaccine is the preferred choice for adults 65 years and older. It protects against four strains of the influenza virus. If this vaccine is not available, then Fluad® is recommended. Both of these vaccines may cause more soreness, redness and swelling where the vaccine was given, lasting a few days longer than the standard vaccine. If neither of these vaccines are available, do not delay in getting vaccinated. All flu vaccines provide good protection.
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Managing Common Side Effects
Heinz suggested that people might want to schedule their vaccinations at a time when its easier to manage potential side effects such as fatigue or headache.
Dont do it at 9 a.m. on your way to work. Do it at the end of the day, if you work normal daytime hours, or a day when youre already going to be off that kind of thing, he said.
If you develop pain around the injection site, it may be treated with over-the-counter medication. Such medications may also help relieve fever, headache, muscle pain, or joint pain.
A couple of Advil and a dose of Tylenol to help with discomfort and swelling thats all it should really require, Heinz said.
If you develop side effects that are bothersome or do not resolve, contact your healthcare provider. If you think you might be having a severe allergic reaction, call 911 or go to the emergency room.
What’s Flu Activity Like This Season
Currently, flu activity remains low in most of the U.S. As of Oct. 2, 2021, all states were reporting minimal or low flu activity except for Mississippi, which reported moderate flu activity, according to the CDC.
But that could change soon after the country experienced historically low levels of flu during the 2020-2021 season , several studies have predicted that the flu could come roaring back this fall and winter, Live Science previously reported.
That’s because the U.S. population “missed the opportunity to establish or boost their immunity ” last season, which raises the concern that the flu could make a comeback as preventive measures for COVID-19 are lifted, according to the authors of a recent study on predicting flu activity, posted Aug. 30 to the preprint database medrXiv.
Even if flu activity is currently low in your community, you shouldn’t wait to get your flu shot. Flu activity could begin to increase at any time, and it takes about two weeks for people to develop antibodies against flu viruses after receiving their shot, the CDC says.
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Q: Can You Have A Recurrence Of The Flu Even After Having The Vaccine
A: A person can have the flu more than once regardless of receiving the vaccine. Influenza A and influenza B are the two types that cause illness of varying severity. Within each influenza virus family there are many viral strains. Both A and B have strains that cause illness of varying severity.
But the influenza A family has more virulent strains than the B family.
If you have the flu, your body responds by developing antibodies. The following year a new strain may appear. Your antibodies are less effective or ineffective against this unfamiliar strain. If you are exposed to it, you may come down with the flu again.
Can I Get The Flu Vaccine If I Have A Latex Allergy
Influenza vaccines used in Australia dont contain latex and are safe for people with a latex allergy or sensitivity. While the product information for Fluarix Tetra and Fluad Quad state that some presentations of the vaccine cannot be considered latex-free, these presentations are actually not supplied in Australia.
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Special Consideration Regarding Egg Allergy
People with egg allergies can receive any licensed, recommended age-appropriate influenza vaccine that is otherwise appropriate. People who have a history of severe egg allergy should be vaccinated in a medical setting, supervised by a health care provider who is able to recognize and manage severe allergic reactions. Two completely egg-free flu vaccine options are available: quadrivalent recombinant vaccine and quadrivalent cell-based vaccine.
Q: How Can The Flu And Its Complications Be Prevented
A: The flu and the common complications of this infection can be prevented with a high degree of success when a person receives the current flu vaccine. A new vaccine is made each year so that the vaccine contains the 3 most common circulating influenza strains that are expected to cause illness that year. For maximum effect, doctors highly recommend you are vaccinated well before the winter season starts, March and April.
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Antibody Response To Vaccination:
Figure 1,Figure 2 and Figure 3 outline the HI antibody response comparing the CFS vaccination, CFS placebo and the healthy volunteer groups for the vaccine antigens A/Texas/36/91, A/Beijing/32/92 and B/Panama/45/90. There was no statistical difference in patients with fourfold titre rise between the CFS vaccination and the healthy volunteer groups three weeks after vaccination. Curiously, the antibody response to B/Panama was not as robust as the influenza A antigens, but both healthy volunteers and CFS vaccinees showed this lessened response. Against A/Texas, 18 of 19 CFS vaccination, 20 of 21 healthy volunteers, and one of 21 in the CFS placebo group developed a fourfold rise in antibodies. To A/Beijing, 19 of 19 CFS vaccination, 20 of 21 healthy volunteers, and two of 21 CFS placebo groups had fourfold rises. Against B/Panama, 17 of 19, 16 of 21 and none of 21 individuals developed fourfold rises in the CFS vaccination, healthy volunteer and CFS placebo groups, respectively. The three placebo patients who developed fourfold rises were almost certainly infected with a wild type strain, and, therefore, it must be assumed that the antibody response for a similar proportion of the vaccinees may have been due to wild type incidental infection. However, the review of symptoms in the three groups failed to uncover any patients with a typical influenza illness during the postimmunization period.
What Kinds Of Flu Shots Are There
Flu shots known as “quadrivalent vaccines” protect against four strains of flu virus. These include two influenza A strains H1N1 and H3N2 and two influenza B strains. Previously, some flu shots protected against three strains, and were known as trivalent flu vaccines, but starting in the 2021-2022 season, all flu shots are quadrivalent, according to the CDC.
In addition to the standard-dose flu vaccine given through a needle, flu shots are available in several different forms. These include a high-dose version for those ages 65 and older a “cell-based” version that’s grown in animal cells rather than hen’s eggs and is approved for people ages 4 and older a “recombinant” vaccine that does not use the full influenza virus or chicken eggs in the production process and is approved for people ages 18 and older and a nasal spray, which is approved for healthy people ages 2 to 49, but not for pregnant women.
There is also a needle-free flu shot, delivered by a so-called jet injector, which uses a high-pressure stream of fluid to inject the vaccine, the CDC says. It is approved for adults ages 18 to 64.
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What Causes The Lingering Symptoms
Experts arent sure why some suffer long-term symptoms and others dont. One thought is that remnants of the virus still elicit an immune response from the body, causing persistent symptoms. Other hypotheses include an exaggerated immune response to the initial infection or an autoimmune phenomenon. More research is ongoing.
We dont know exactly why some suffer from long-term symptoms. It may be over adaptation of their immune response, side effects of the natural immune response, lingering effects of the virus or combinations thereof, Dr. Meeker said.
Does The Flu Jab Make You Ill
It is a common misconception that the flu jab gives you the flu, but minor reactions of flu-like symptoms including mild fever and tiredness are reported by some people.
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How To Treat Flu Vaccine Side Effects If Youre Really Struggling
Although side effects shouldnt last long, theres no shame in wanting to minimize your pain. To deal with any aches or a fever, you can try an over-the-counter pain-reliever such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, according to the Mayo Clinic. If your arm is really sore, consider icing it to help with inflammation. Getting plenty of sleep, loading up on water, and generally trying to take it easy until you feel a bit better is always a good idea, too.
And if you have any questions about the flu vaccineif and when you should get your flu shot or nasal spray vaccine, if you should be worried about side effects, concerns about allergies, or anything elsedont hesitate to talk it over with a health care professional. Theyre there to help you make the process as seamless as possible.
Additional reporting by Korin Miller