Facts about the flu vaccine (Ⅱ)
Q1 Why should people get the flu vaccine every year?
The influenza virus undergoes frequent mutations. Every year, the World Health Organization recommends a new composition of the influenza vaccine for the upcoming flu season based on global surveillance data. The targeted strains may vary from year to year. Plus, the immunity conferred by flu vaccination gradually wanes over time.
Q2 Are there any side effects of getting the flu vaccine?
Getting the flu vaccine is safe, but flu vaccines can sometimes cause adverse reactions just like any other medical product.
People may experience localized physical reactions, including redness, swelling, hardness, pain, and a burning sensation at the injection site. Beyond that, common systemic reactions after flu vaccination include fever, headache, dizziness, drowsiness, fatigue, muscle aches, generalized discomfort, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea.
Don't worry! These reactions are usually mild and typically resolve on their own within a few days, with severe reactions rarely experienced.
Q3 Does flu vaccination protect us against flu entirely?
In most years, the flu vaccine provides good protection against the circulating strains of the flu virus. However, there is still a small chance that the strains included in the vaccine may not be a perfect match to the ones causing the flu, which thus compromises the protection of the vaccine.
Besides, the flu vaccine only protects against the flu caused by the flu virus and cannot prevent other respiratory illnesses caused by different pathogens, such as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) or adenovirus.
Q4 Can the flu vaccine be administered simultaneously with other vaccines?
In general, the inactivated flu vaccine can be given at the same time as other inactivated or live attenuated vaccines, such as the enterovirus 71 vaccine, pneumococcal vaccine, shingles vaccine, varicella vaccine, measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, and pertussis vaccine, at different injection sites.
Limited evidence is available on giving the live attenuated flu vaccine at the same time as other vaccines. If a live attenuated flu vaccine is given, other live attenuated vaccines should not be administered until at least 4 weeks later.
For individuals aged 18 and above, it is safe to get both inactivated flu vaccine and COVID-19 vaccine at the same time, with each administered on one arm. As for individuals receiving live attenuated flu vaccine and those under the age of 18, it is recommended to have an interval of more than 14 days between the two vaccinations.
Q5 What should people pay attention to after receiving a flu shot?
After receiving a flu shot, people need to stay under observation on site for half an hour. Upon returning home, he or she should rest, have a light diet, and avoid vigorous exercise. If any abnormal symptoms occur, it is advisable to consult and report to the vaccinating doctor, and if necessary, seek medical attention at a hospital.