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Frequently Asked Questions about the flu vaccine:

1)      What is in the flu vaccine
The World Health Organization makes recommendations every year based on flu patterns and virulence of viruses and then advises which strains should be included in the flu vaccine. For the 2016 southern hemisphere, the following strains have been incorporated:
  • an A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus;
  • an A/Hong Kong/4801/2014 (H3N2)-like virus;
  • a B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus.
2)      Who should get a flu vaccine
The Centre for Disease Control and prevention recommends that anyone over 6 months of age should receive a flu vaccine. Anyone at high risk of developing complications from the flu should receive one. This includes
  • Children under 2 years of age
  • Adults over the age of 65 years
  • Anyone with a medical condition such as allergies, asthma, respiratory disorders, hypertension, diabetes, HIV, or other autoimmune disease
  • Anyone caring for people listed above
  • Anyone living in close contact with others such as care homes, boarding schools and their carers
3)      Can I still get flu even if I've had the flu vaccine
Yes. It's possible to get sick with the flu even if you have been vaccinated. This is possible for the following reasons:
  • You may be exposed to the flu virus before getting vaccinated or during the period that it takes the body to get protection after vaccination. Antibodies that provide protection take about 2 weeks to develop post vaccination.
  • You may be exposed to a flu virus that is not included in the seasonal flu vaccine. There are many different flu viruses that circulate every year. The flu vaccine is made to protect against the three or four flu viruses that research suggests will be most common.
  • Unfortunately, some people can become infected with a flu virus the flu vaccine is designed to protect against, despite getting vaccinated. Protection provided by flu vaccination can vary widely, based in part on health and age factors of the person getting vaccinated. In general, the flu vaccine works best among healthy younger adults and older children. Some older people and people with certain chronic illnesses may develop less immunity after vaccination. Flu vaccination is not a perfect tool, but it is the best way to protect against flu infection.
4)      Can the flu vaccine cause flu
It is a myth that you can get flu from the flu vaccine. The viruses in the flu shot are killed, so people cannot get the flu from a flu vaccine.
5)      Is the flu vaccine safe in pregnancy
Yes. Studies show flu vaccines are safe for women in any stage of pregnancy
6)      Who should not get a flu vaccine
  • Children younger than 6 months cannot get a flu shot. Those who've had a severe allergic reaction to a flu vaccine in the past should generally not be vaccinated, the CDC says.
  • You should not get the flu vaccine if you have a high fever (You should wait until the fever is gone.)
  • You should not get a flu vaccine if you have an egg allergy.
  • However, if you have minor illness, like a mild cold or a headache, you can still get a flu shot, Schaffner said. "The vaccine does perfectly well in those folks."
7)      What are the side effects of a flu vaccine
  • Soreness, redness, or swelling where the vaccine was given
  • Fever (low grade)
  • Aches
  • Life-threatening allergic reactions are very rare. If they do occur, it is within a few minutes to a few hours after the shot. These reactions can occur among persons who are allergic to something that is in the vaccine, such as egg protein or other ingredients. You should let your doctor, nurse, clinic, or pharmacist know if you have a history of allergy or severe reaction to flu vaccine or any part of flu vaccine, including eggs.
  • There is a small possibility that influenza vaccine could be associated with Guillain-Barre syndrome, no more than 1 or 2 cases per million people vaccinated. This is much lower than the risk of severe complications from flu, which can be prevented by flu vaccine.
8) Can I claim on my medical aid for my 2016 flu vaccine?
Yes, it is covered by all major medical aids. For high risk patients, it will be covered out of your hospital benefit and not from your savings account. Many rewards programmes such as Discovery Vitality will reward you with points.
9) Will National Road Pharmacy come to my business?
Yes, if you would like us to come and vaccinate your staff, please email or phone our clinic to find out about our business vaccination programmes.
References:
http://www.livescience.com/40279-flu-shot-information.html
http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/flushot.htm
http://www.who.int/influenza/vaccines/virus/recommendations/2016_south/en/
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