Flu vaccines are not unlike fashion as it changes year by year; at the same time, influenza virus are also changing slightly season after season making the vaccine of the previous year, ineffective. Consequently, a new vaccine is prepared every year to effectively combat the onslaught of the influenza virus.
Reason for the differences
Virus has the propensity to mutate its structure fast evolving into new subtypes. Scientists have to predict which influenza viruses will cause infection and to prepare a vaccine against them. Most of the time, scientists can predict accurately which types of influenza virus will cause infections and are able to prepare an appropriate vaccine.
Time is also an important consideration. The antibodies need two weeks to develop in the body to be able to provide protection against influenza virus infection. In the meantime, you are still at risk for getting the flu.
Preparing new vaccines
Viruses used to prepare flu vaccine are grown in eggs, but the newer version is egg-free that is an important development for people with egg allergy. Routine preparation of flu vaccines is available for seasonal influenza. There are two ways of administering flu vaccines:
- The injection “flu shot” vaccine
Inactivated vaccine containing killed influenza virus is injected into muscles or skin. It starts stimulating the immune system to emit immune response or antibodies to the influenza virus. Flu season of 2014-15 presents two types of vaccines: (1) a trivalent vaccine targeting three flu virus strains; and (2) a quadrivalent flu virus vaccine targeting four strains. Both are administered as an intramuscular injection. Egg-free vaccine as a trivalent vaccine is used for people from ages 18 to 49 years. Additionally, another special type of high-dose vaccine is developed for people who are 65 years of age and older.
- The nasal-spray vaccine
Also called LAIV, this vaccine contains live but weakened influenza viruses and it is used with a nasal spray not by injection. The following people should not use the nasal spray flu vaccine: (1) kids less than 2 years of age; (2) elderly who are 50 years of age and over; (3) patients with medical condition as heart ailment, or lung disorders, as reactive airways disease or asthma; (4) patients with medical conditions such as failing kidney or diabetes; (5) those with weakened immune system due to illnesses; (6) children or adolescents receiving aspirin; (7) pregnant women; (8) people who have egg-allergy; (9) people with a history of Guillain-Barre syndrome that occurred after receiving influenza vaccine; and (10) people who are at risk for severe influenza illness.
Many vaccine options are available for you to choose from, but the most important thing is for all people who are 6 months and older to get a flu vaccine every year. If you have some questions or issues to settle about which vaccine is best for you, consult your doctor or other health care professional.
Flu vaccines are found in many locations, such as public & private clinics, college health centers, doctor’s offices, health departments or pharmacies, as well as in many business establishments and in most educational institutions. If you don’t have a regular medical provider, you can get a flu shot in the health department of your town, drug outlets or pharmacies; emergency care clinics, and often in college health centers, in the clinic of your school or in many workplaces.
Many flu vaccination programs are available that you will have no problem getting a shot. CVS pharmacy is inviting seniors, adults, teens, and all those who want to avoid the flu and spend a healthy season. Believe in the saying that health is more valuable than wealth by getting a shot.