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Why should we get vaccinated against influenza?

Influenza of the 2020-2021 season

Every year we hear a lot of information about the flu vaccine, but with the current situation you should have many questions, starting with making the decision to get vaccinated to whether the vaccine impacts your health. Those fears are natural for everything that is happening with the COVID-19 pandemic. In this brief summary we offer the information you should know about the influenza vaccine and the importance of administering the vaccine in this period.

At what ages is vaccination recommended?

According to the Atlanta Centers for Disease Control (CDC), it is recommended that from 6 months of age all people should be vaccinated annually against influenza with any approved age-appropriate vaccine.

What viruses cause the flu?

It is important that you know that there are different types of influenza viruses, so the vaccine is constantly changing in its composition. In the United States, the annual virus variety is reviewed and research is being conducted to create vaccines that can protect against the three or four most common viruses; Type A (H1N1-pdm09), virus A (H3N2), virus type B (lineage B / Victoria) and virus type B (lineage Yamagata).

With the aforementioned changes, you will be wondering, which vaccine should I administer? Or should I really get a vaccine now in times of COVID-19?

The answer to both questions is yes. You should administer any flu vaccine approved and available, according to the CDC, during the months between September and October, periods when vaccines are usually more available, although their access may be more limited by the current situation with COVID-19. Currently, the influenza virus began to be in circulation between July and August like every year. If you cannot get the influenza vaccine in the months of September and October, don’t worry, you can do it at any time while they are available.

Is the flu vaccine safe?

The flu vaccine is safe. Extensive research has been done for the past 50 years to support the safety of seasonal flu vaccines. The agencies in charge of monitoring the safety of each vaccine according to the year and season are; CDC and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), these agencies in conjunction with other partners ensure that each vaccine meets the highest standards of quality and safety.

What are side effects?

Side effects of the influenza vaccine are common to an injectable vaccine, these can include; pain, redness or swelling at the injection site, headache, fever, nausea, muscle pain, and in some cases fainting.

If you worry about the side effects of the vaccine or wonder why there are people who get sick after being administered the vaccine, you should know that in cases where they appear, they are mild and only last 1 to 2 days. Some of these symptoms are often confused with influenza, if you notice any of them for more than 3 days, it is advisable to seek help from a health professional.

References: 

Grohskopf LA, Alyanak E, Broder KR, et al. Prevention and Control of Seasonal Influenza with Vaccines: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices — United States, 2020–21 Influenza Season. MMWR Recomm Rep 2020;69(No. RR-8):1–24.http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.rr6908a1external icon. 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD). Influenza (Flu).Recuperado el 9/19/2020 de; https://www.cdc.gov/flu/resource-center/index.htm 

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