The flu is a viral infection of the respiratory tract caused by influenza viruses. These viruses produce seasonal epidemics in many areas of the globe during the colder months of the year. Also, according to the Director of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, the flu is a highly contagious virus worth guarding against.
The question of whether a flu shot is a guarantee for health will be discussed in this article. This guide will tackle the advantages of the flu vaccination, its efficacy, factors that may affect its effectiveness, and people who can get a flu shot.
Flu Trials Conducted By The Center For Diseases Control (CDC)
The flu vaccine may protect you from contracting the flu. Take note that the vaccine is based on the strains predicted to be most prevalent throughout the next flu season. As a result, its efficacy varies from year to year. Therefore, each year, the CDC conducts trials to evaluate the effectiveness of influenza (flu) vaccinations in protecting against the flu.
Since the 2003-2004 flu season, the CDC has collaborated with researchers at universities and hospitals to assess the effectiveness of flu vaccines via observational studies using laboratory-confirmed flu as the outcome.
While vaccine effectiveness (VE) varies, research indicates that flu vaccination lowers the risk of influenza disease by 40% and 60%. This is for the general population during seasons when most circulating influenza viruses are closely related to those used in flu vaccines. In addition, current flu vaccinations are more effective against influenza B and influenza A (H1N1) viruses and provide less protection against influenza A (H3N2).
Who Are Safe To Get Flu Vaccines?
According to CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines to flu vaccinations, here are the people who can get a flu shot:
- People with chronic health conditions
- Individuals with egg allergy
- Different ages get age-appropriate flu shots
However, please note that these people are not recommended to have a flu vaccination:
- Children below six months old
- People with a severe allergy to flu vaccines
- People with severe allergies (except egg allergy)
Lastly, these people are recommended to consult their doctors before flu vaccination:
- People with an egg allergy or any of the flu ingredients
- People with previous severe reactions to a flu vaccine
- People not feeling well
- People with a history of GBS (Guillain Barre Syndrome)
Take note that it’s been annually reported that people develop may Guillain Barre Syndrome days or weeks after having a vaccine. So, it’s essential to consult your physician before taking a flu shot if you have this kind of disease.
Factors Influencing How Flu Vaccine Works
Researchers attempt to assess how effectively influenza vaccinations perform as an intervention to public health every flu season. Estimates of the effectiveness of influenza vaccination are based on population examines, research design, and the kind of flu vaccine.
There are two variables essential in determining the flu vaccine’s effectiveness: the first is age and health, while the second one is how well the vaccines match the circulating influenza viruses.
The flu vaccination doesn’t function equally, but it’s best for healthy adults. The flu vaccination is a bit less efficient in preventing influenza in young children below 24 months. Since one’s immunity naturally becomes weaker during middle age, the influenza vaccination won’t function as it previously did in this age group.
Since the flu virus is considerably more deadly for elderly individuals, vaccination is still essential. It’s also worth mentioning that 2021 research revealed that flu vaccination in adults was linked with a 26% reduced risk of ICU and 31% lower chance of influenza mortality than unvaccinated patients.
Regarding how the vaccines will match the circulating influenza viruses, flu shots may provide little or no protection against the diseases if it doesn’t match well. Nevertheless, suppose there’s a good match between flu vaccines and circulating viruses. In that case, immunization offers significant advantages through the prevention of flu disease and complications.
Why Do You Need A Flu Vaccine Every Year?
As flu viruses change so rapidly, the vaccination last year may not protect you against the viruses this year. Every year, new flu vaccinations are developed to quickly adapt to flu viruses. When you’re vaccinated, your immune system generates antibodies to defend you against viruses contained in the vaccine. The fact that antimicrobial levels may decrease with time is also another reason to receive an annual flu vaccine.
While getting the flu is normal, especially during the cold season, and you can fight colds and flu naturally and healthily, getting a flu shot is still best recommended. A flu vaccination may help prevent the flu, lower the intensity of symptoms, and decrease the likelihood of requiring hospitalization if you get it.