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 COVID-19 pandemic. However, the flu vaccine need not be mandatorily 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.

Read More: All About Summer Flu

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 and health, among others 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.

Hospital Visit 

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 administering the vaccine is fairly simple.

Vitals Check 

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

Calculation of the Dosage 

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

Administration of the Vaccine

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.

 

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How Is the Flu Vaccine Given?

The administration of the flu vaccine is done depending upon the age of the individual. Let’s get a closer look. 

 

  • Children younger than 9 years of age who are getting flu shots for the first time are typically administered 2 doses with a gap of one month between doses. 

  • Children younger than 9 years of age, who have gotten either one or two doses of the influenza vaccine in the past will only need one dose per year. 

  • Children older than 9 years of age will only require one dose per year. 

Is the Flu Shot Available in More Than One Type?

Yes, you get more than one type of flu shot. Here’s an overview of 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.

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

Why Is the Flu Vaccine Recommended?

Although the influenza vaccine is not 100% effective, it is recommended to get them administered to you. With a flu shot, the chances of you getting infected with the disease lowers greatly. That’s not all. Even if you end up contracting the flu, the symptoms usually tend to be mild and are likely to disappear much quicker compared to an individual who hasn’t got the vaccine. 

 

It is important to get yourself inoculated with the flu vaccine on a yearly basis since the body’s immunity towards the influenza virus tends to naturally decline over time. Also, by getting the vaccine, you not only protect yourself but also the society at large. Individuals who have gotten the vaccine tend to not spread the virus to other individuals. 

People who cannot get the influenza vaccine like infants, the elderly, individuals with severe allergies or after-effects and pregnant women will stay protected if everyone around them gets inoculated with the flu vaccine. 

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.

What Else Should I Know?

There are quite a few things that you need to know about the influenza vaccine before you go ahead and get yourself inoculated. Here’s a quick look at a few of them. 

The Vaccine Doesn’t Influenza

The flu vaccine is very safe and usually doesn’t cause any serious symptoms. You cannot get influenza from flu shots if you’ve been administered a vaccine with an inactivated virus. 

The Vaccine is Safe for Pregnant Women 

Pregnant women can get influenza vaccines. It will help them and their unborn baby stay protected from the disease. 

When Should I Call the Doctor?

It is advisable to get in touch with the doctor immediately in the following circumstances.

  • You’re sick, suffering from fever or have any other mild illness just before your vaccine appointment. In many cases, doctors prescribe influenza vaccines to individuals who have a cold or a mild fever. 

  • You develop a high fever or an allergic reaction after getting yourself inoculated with the flu vaccine. Such reactions can be life threatening if you don’t seek timely help. 

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 through 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

  • ✔️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.