What do I need to know about this year’s flu shot? IG News

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Experts say it’s time to roll up your sleeves for the annual flu shot.

But this year, some pharmacists say people have questions about the influenza vaccine rollout, which will coincide with the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines targeting Omicron strains — also known as bivalent vaccines.

Ashley Davidson, a pharmacist and associate owner of Shoppers Drug Mart in St. Albert, Alta., raises a lot of questions.

“So many people are asking about flu shots and I think a lot of that conversation comes from how they time their vaccines and what does it look like?” She told CBC’s podcast host Dr. Brian Goldman diet,

What experts have to say about this year’s flu vaccines.

What do we know about the upcoming flu season?

The number of flu cases this year may look a little different from what we’ve seen in the past few years.

“What has changed over the past two years is that we had a historic shortfall during the pandemic and now we are in a time of uncertainty about when it’s going to return, what it’s going to look like,” Dr Robin said. Harrison, deputy chairman of the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) and infectious disease expert, during a webinar on seasonal influenza Wednesday.

An example of what could come is Australia’s recent flu season, which precedes Canada because it is in the Southern Hemisphere.

The country recently had its worst weather in years, d. withEtah from Australia’s Department of Health and Aged Care showing that influenza infections were higher than the five-year average and that infections had notably increased, then dropped earlier than usual.

Davidson said even Canadians have not been at greater risk of flu over the years because of mask mandates and other public health measures introduced during the pandemic.

“One thing that stands out to me this year is that we won’t have masks in schools. So it’s going to increase the potential exposure to the flu virus for kids as well,” she said.

According to experts, influenza is a serious disease. As of 2019, it is estimated that there are an average of 12,000 hospital stays due to influenza in Canada each year, and about 3,500 deaths due to flu each year, Harrison said.

Influenza is very contagious and spreads through respiratory droplets that cause infection. Symptoms can vary but usually include fever, sore throat, runny nose, cough, fatigue and muscle aches.

Who is eligible for the flu shot?

Experts say it’s important to get a flu shot every year because vaccine-induced immunity wanes over time.

There are three types of influenza vaccines approved in Canada, according to NACI. To,

  • inactivated influenza vaccine
  • recombinant influenza vaccine
  • Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine

Anyone six months of age or older who has no known negative reaction to the vaccine should get the flu vaccine every year.

“Children under six months of age are not included, because we know they do not respond well to influenza vaccines,” said Dr Jesse Papenberg, a pediatric infectious disease and medical microbiology specialist. Wednesday webinar. He is also president of the NACI Influenza Working Group.

A health care worker preparing a flu shot in Calgary. According to experts, it is important to get a flu shot every year because the vaccine-induced immunity decreases over time. (Leah Heinel)

The recommended flu shot schedule for children and adults aged nine years and older is one dose of influenza vaccine at the start of flu season, he said.

For children between the ages of six months and eight years who have not yet received the flu shot, the NACI recommends giving two doses at least four weeks apart.

Who should not get the flu shot?

Papenberg said NACI’s recommendations for people who should not get the flu shot include:

  • People who have had an anaphylactic reaction to any component of the vaccine, except eggs.
  • People who have developed Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) within six weeks of a previous flu vaccine (unless another cause has been found).
  • Infants under six months of age.

NACI recommendations on who should not receive live attenuated influenza vaccine found here,

When should I take the flu shot?

Davidson suggests that people get the influenza vaccine as soon as it is available.

Davidson said Canada’s flu season typically lasts from mid-October to April or early May.

“I often remind patients that although you can get your flu shot right away, it takes about two weeks to develop an immune response to that vaccination,” she said.

“It’s important to get your shot as early as possible to make sure you can have coverage through flu season.”

Can I get the flu shot and the COVID-19 vaccine together?

For most people, the short answer is yes.

For people five years of age and older, all seasonal influenza vaccines, including the live-attenuated influenza vaccine, can be given at the same time or before or after other vaccines, including COVID-19. -19 vaccines are also included. most recent recommendations from NACI.

“It’s important that you stay protected from both viruses throughout the winter,” Davidson said.

look | Experts explain what to expect from flu season this year:

Daybreak Kamloops7:15Flu season expected to be more intense this year

If there’s a year to get a flu shot, this would be one of them. Experts say we could be in serious flu season this fall

However, children between the ages of six months to five years should not receive a COVID-19 vaccine and an influenza shot at the same time, according to the NACI, which instead gives people in this age group the risk of getting COVID-19. recommends waiting 14 days between -19 shots and other vaccines. ,

This is a precautionary approach “to prevent false allegation of adverse events following immunization to one particular vaccine or another,” reads the committee’s advice.

How effective are flu vaccines this year?

Experts say influenza vaccines have been proven to help prevent influenza, transmission, complications and hospitalization.

Davidson and Harrison said the effectiveness of flu vaccines can vary from year to year because it all depends on the circulating strains.

From the 2004-2005 flu season to the 2019-20, Harrison said the effectiveness of influenza vaccines in Canada varied between about 40 and 70 percent.

Each year, experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) make recommendations on which strains of influenza virus should be targeted by vaccines.

This year, WHO recommended three influenza strains – one influenza A (H1N1); For inclusion in an influenza A (H3N2) and an influenza B-trivalent flu shot.

Although the effectiveness of the flu vaccine can vary, both Harrison and Davidson agree that it provides protection.

“The effectiveness of the vaccine may not be 100 percent and may not last more than a year, but it does have an effect and is therefore recommended,” Harrison said.

Written and produced by Stephanie Dubois


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