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What is an Influenza Vaccine?

The Influenza Vaccine is given to protect you and your loved ones from infections caused by the influenza virus. Some of the symptoms of the flu are fever, cold, runny nose, etc. This vaccine is given to minimise the complications of respiratory infections. It is administered by the nurse at the health centre by checking the patient and calculating the dose required on the basis of age. The patient is then instructed on the side effects of the shot. This vaccine reduces the risk of infection by 40% -60%

The vaccine is generally prescribed for the elderly, health care workers and people with weaker immunity. Infants and those prone to allergic reactions from the vaccine should avoid taking it.

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How Much Does the Influenza Vaccine Cost in India?

In India, the influenza vaccine price ranges from around ₹800 to ₹1,500 per shot. According to reports, the cost can be more than that as well when it comes to flu shots. The influenza vaccine covers diseases like swine flu, seasonal flu, and other types of influenza. In recent times, the number of people taking the influenza vaccine has gone high and according to various reports, this is mainly due to the pandemic. However, the flu vaccine is not mandatory to be taken in India.

Why is the Influenza Vaccine Given?

The flu vaccine is usually given because the flu is infectious and can cause severe respiratory infections. Typically, the flu is confused with the common cold. The common cold is not particularly extreme and lasts only up to a few days. On the other hand, the flu can cause severe symptoms and can stay for a prolonged period. In addition to these flu infections, superinfections may also occur in some cases. Superinfections are essentially bacterial infections that are followed by a respiratory infection. So, to stay protected from such illnesses and their dire side effects, flu shots are administered.

How Effective is the Seasonal Flu Shot?

The effectiveness of an influenza vaccine varies depending on the vaccine and individual. Recent studies have shown that the flu vaccine reduces the risk of flu by around 40% to 60%. Further, the effectiveness of these flu shots can also vary from season to season. The two important factors that decide the effectiveness of a flu vaccine are characteristics of the person taking it, like their age, health, etc. and how well the vaccines match the flu virus spreading in the community.

How is the Influenza Vaccine Administered?

Now that you have understood why it is given and how this vaccine actually works, let’s take a look at how the influenza vaccine is administered.

 

  • Visit the Medical Centre

First, you will be asked to arrive at a medical centre or a hospital as per your choice during a particular time with an appointment. The entire process of giving the vaccine is fairly simple.

  • Quick Check-up

Next, your vitals will be checked. Usually, your blood pressure and pulse would be measured. Then, the flu vaccine cost would be mentioned to you before you complete the payment.

  • Vaccine Dose is Calculated

The next step involves the healthcare practitioner asking you to sit in a comfortable position. Meanwhile, the nurse/doctor calculates the dose that should be administered to you based on your age and gets the syringe prepared.

  • The Vaccine is Administered

Finally, the vaccine will be administered to you on your upper arm. Before you leave, you will be instructed on what to do in case of any side effects.

Is the Flu Shot Available in More Than One Type?

Yes, you get more than one type of flu shot. Given below are the different types of flu vaccines.

 

  • Egg-based

This type of vaccine is the oldest form and is made using an egg-based manufacturing process. This process requires chicken eggs to develop the vaccine.

  • Cell-based

The FDA approved this type of vaccine in 2012 and it is also used to make inactivated flu vaccines. They do not require chicken eggs because the vaccine is grown in animal cells.

  • Recombinant

This type of vaccine uses a recombinant technology process. This method got approved for use in 2013.

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Who Should be Given the Influenza Vaccine?

The influenza vaccine is essential for all age groups to stay protected from the virus. However, the following classes of people are prioritised when it comes to administering the vaccine.

 

  • Elderly individuals

Individuals who are 65 years of age or are older.

  • Healthcare practitioners

Healthcare workers who are at risk of being exposed to flu patients.

  • People working in medical care facilities

Individuals who live in a nursing home or an assisted care facility.

  • People with chronic health issues

People who have chronic conditions like HIV, diabetes, asthma, or any heart condition.

  • People with weaker immunity

Individuals with a compromised immune system.

In addition to these individuals, it is recommended for everyone to get the flu vaccine as a measure of precaution.

Who Should Not be Given the Influenza Vaccine?

The flu vaccine carries several benefits along with it; however, a few individuals should avoid getting the vaccine administered as the vaccine would cause more harm than good. For instance, the flu vaccine for kids is encouraged, but not for infants. The following individuals should avoid getting the vaccine.

 

  • History of vaccine reaction

People who have developed a severe reaction to the influenza vaccine in the past.

  • Those allergic to ingredients

Individuals who are allergic to the ingredients of the vaccine.

  • Infants

The vaccine is safe for children in the age group of 2 to 17. However, children younger than 2 years should not be given the influenza vaccine.

  • History of Guillain-Barre Syndrome

People who have a history of Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a condition that causes paralysis and weakness.

Besides, the following category of people should ensure to avoid the nasal spray:

 

  • Individuals above the age of 50

  • Women who are pregnant

  • People with a weak immune system

  • Individuals with chronic conditions like lung disease, asthma, etc.

  • People with a severe allergy to chicken eggs

Side Effects of Influenza Vaccine

If you have taken a shot of the influenza vaccine, it is best to stay prepared to experience the following side effects:

 

  • Muscle pain

  • Headache

  • Nausea

  • Dizziness and fainting

  • Fever

Rarely, some individuals face severe allergic reactions to the flu shot. In such cases or in cases of any severe side effects, it is best to consult a doctor immediately.

In case you have taken the nasal spray, you may experience mild flu-like symptoms after the spray. However, this side effect is most prominent in children.

Conclusion

The flu, although commonly neglected to be the common cold, can cause severe problems and can sometimes be life-threatening. So, you must get the flu shots at the earliest to stay safe and protect yourself from the influenza virus. In addition, if you are concerned about the side effects, it is best to consult a healthcare practitioner before getting the vaccine shot.

While you get yourself vaccinated against serious illnesses, it is important to be prepared for any emergencies. And, the best way you can be financially prepared is by getting health insurance. A health insurance plan will also take care of the treatment costs. Interestingly, it can aid you in your regular health checkups too. So without further ado, get your health insurance thorugh Bajaj Markets now!

While you need a health insurance plan to stay financially protected during medical emergencies, they may not cover all medical treatments. So, if you are looking for a policy that covers a specific medical requirement, you can opt for a Pocket Insurance plan that covers such needs. 

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FAQs on Influenza Vaccine

✔️Who should take the flu vaccine?

The influenza vaccine should be taken by individuals of all age groups except children below 2 years of age. However, some classes of people are prioritised for taking the flu vaccine. They are elderly individuals, healthcare practitioners, people working in medical care facilities, people with chronic health issues and those with weaker immunity.

✔️Where can I take the flu vaccine?

­­You can take the flu vaccine by visiting a medical centre of your choice that administers the shot.

✔️What are the disadvantages of the flu shot?

Usually, there are no major disadvantages of a flu shot but you might experience some mild side effects like soreness, redness or swelling around the vaccinated area, fever, etc. Some people may also experience severe allergic reactions.

✔️What are the side effects of an influenza vaccine?

Some of the common side effects of influenza vaccine are muscle pain, headache, nausea, dizziness and fainting, fever.

✔️How long is an influenza vaccine good for?

An influenza vaccine gives protection against flu for around 6 to 8 months.