Flu Vaccination (cont.)
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- Flu vaccine (flu shot) facts
- What is flu?
- Why vaccinate for the flu?
- What are the different types of flu vaccines?
- What flu viruses does the flu vaccine protect against?
- How does the flu vaccine work to prevent the flu?
- When should one receive the flu vaccine?
- Who should receive the flu vaccine?
- Who should not receive the flu vaccine?
- What are risks and side effects of the flu vaccine?
- Can the flu vaccine give me the flu?
- What should I do about adverse reactions to the flu vaccine?
- How effective is the flu shot?
- What was the novel H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine?
- What is the best way to locate a flu shot clinic?
What flu viruses does the flu vaccine protect against?
Flu vaccines are developed each year and are designed to protect against the three influenza viruses that are predicted to be the most common during the upcoming season.
The 2012-2013 influenza vaccine was made from the following three viruses:
- an A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus;
- an A/Victoria/361/2011 (H3N2)-like virus;
- a B/Wisconsin/1/2010-like virus (from the B/Yamagata lineage of viruses).
While the H1N1 virus is the same as the that in the 2011-2012 vaccine, the influenza H3N2 and B vaccine viruses are different from those used for the Northern Hemisphere for the 2011-2012 influenza vaccine.
How does the flu vaccine work to prevent the flu?
The flu vaccines stimulate the production of antibodies in the body that fight the flu virus. When the virus enters a person who has been vaccinated, the antibodies attack and kill the virus and prevent infection. Antibodies are produced against the specific strains of the virus contained in the yearly vaccine.
Flu vaccination does not protect against infection caused by microbes other than the influenza virus.
When should one receive the flu vaccine?
It is recommended to get the flu vaccine as soon as the vaccine is available in the community, even as early as August. Flu season can begin in October and last as late as May.
Who should receive the flu vaccine?
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that every individual over 6 months of age receive the seasonal flu vaccine. While vaccination is recommended for everyone, it is particularly important for some groups. Vaccination is especially important for people who are at high risk of developing serious complications if they get the flu, such as those with asthma, diabetes, and chronic lung disease as well as pregnant women and those over 65 years of age. It is also important for people to get vaccinated who are caregivers for or those who live with people in these risk groups.
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