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%.
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.
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.
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 and how well the vaccines match the flu virus.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Yes, you get more than one type of flu shot. Here’s an overview of the different types of flu vaccines.
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.
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.
This type of vaccine uses a recombinant technology process. This method got approved for use in 2013.
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.
Individuals who are 65 years of age or are older.
Healthcare workers who are at risk of being exposed to flu patients.
Individuals who live in a nursing home or an assisted care facility.
People who have chronic conditions like HIV, diabetes, asthma, or any heart condition.
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.
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.
People who have developed a severe reaction to the influenza vaccine in the past.
Individuals who are allergic to the ingredients of the vaccine.
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.
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
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.
If you have taken a shot of the influenza vaccine, it is best to stay prepared to experience the following side effects.
Dizziness and fainting
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.
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 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.
Pregnant women can get influenza vaccines. It will help them and their unborn baby stay protected from the disease.
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
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.
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.
You can take the flu vaccine by visiting a medical centre of your choice that administers the 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.
Some of the common side effects of influenza vaccine are muscle pain, headache, nausea, dizziness and fainting, fever.
An influenza vaccine gives protection against flu for around 6 to 8 months.