Protection & Care

Influenza vaccine: how does it work?

Influenza vaccine how does it work

Often commonplace, the Influenza is not a harmless illness. Vaccination, to be repeated every year, is therefore recommended in people at risk of complications if they contract an influenza virus. Who are they ? What does the flu vaccine contain? Is it effective? Who can vaccinate? We take stock.

Influenza… This word, forgotten for a few months, remembers to our fond memories in October, when the vaccination campaign started. This generally continues until the end of January.

What does the Influenza vaccine contain?

We make the flu vaccine from inactivated viruses .

The composition of the influenza vaccine for winter 2019-2020is not the same as the previous year. It includes viruses belonging to the following strains:

  • virus type A (H1N1)
  • virus type B
  • supplemented with the type B virus strain / Phuket / 3073/2013 (Yamagata line / 16/88) for tetravalent vaccines  (which protect against four types of virus).
  • virus type A (H3N2)

When we should take the Influenza vaccine?

Doctors recommands vaccination as soon as the vaccine corresponding to the strains of the year is available in pharmacies, before the active circulation of influenza viruses. Its effectiveness largely covers the epidemic period. We need only one injection.

What are the risks and side effects of the Influenza vaccine?

As the forms available in France do not contain an adjuvant, and therefore no aluminum, vaccination does not risk inducing more serious inflammation.

The rare cases of narcolepsy and Guillain-Barré syndrome reported have been described especially after vaccination against pandemic influenza, not that against seasonal influenza.

How does the influenza vaccine work?

The organism, in contact with the fractions of the virus rendered harmless, will develop antibodies, specific immune defenses which will protect it against the virus. We need about 15 days after vaccination to protect ourselves from the flu”, the time that the immune system reacts.

What are the contraindications?

We shouldn’t take the vaccine in the rare case of allergy to egg proteins. It is therefore advisable to take advice from an allergist because we make the vaccine with these proteins.

Also be careful with autoimmune diseases that affect the central nervous system.

Who has a real interest in getting the Influenza shot?

  • People over 65,
  • people (including children from the age of 6 months) suffering from chronic diseases (respiratory or heart failure, asthma, diabetes, cystic fibrosis, etc.),
  • patients with decreased immunity,
  • the pregnant women, regardless of trimester (get vaccinated against the Influenza during pregnancy also provides protection to the newborn for six months)
  • obese people,
  • health professionals,
  • and people working on cruise ships or planes.

For these people at risk, the vaccination procedures have been simplified. The person receives at his home the care insurance cover (valid until January 31, 2020). If she is over 18, she can withdraw the vaccine directly from the pharmacist without medical consultation, even if it is her first flu vaccination.

If the person is a minor, the attending physician must prescribe the vaccine, then collect it from the pharmacist.

and If a person considered at risk does not receive the care order, his / her attending physician, or a midwife, or a pharmacist, can edit one, which will allow him / her to be reimbursed.

Where we find the flu shot?

  • in a flu pharmacy;
  • in the school health service.
  • at a liberal doctor in a city office;
  • in a vaccination center (ask your town hall);
  • in an international vaccination center authorized for compulsory or recommended vaccinations for trips abroad;
  • at a private nurse, with the doctor’s prescription;
  • in a midwife for women as part of gynecological monitoring and contraception, the future mother, the woman who has just given birth, the infant and those around her (for certain vaccines);
  • in a free screening and diagnostic information center, a family planning center, a health examination center, for certain vaccines;

How much does the Influenza vaccine cost?

  • The vaccine is free for those at risk, but they should pay the injection. People that we dont consider at risk must pay the price of the vaccine and the cost of the injection procedure.

How effective is the Influenza vaccine?

As we know, the effectiveness of the vaccine is not total. On average,that vaccination protects from one flu to two. The effectiveness also varies from one person to another and from one season to another, depending on whether the strains contained in the vaccine are indeed those which are in circulation.

What is certain the vaccine protects against severe forms of the flu. The risks of complications and hospitalization, if the person nevertheless contracts the flu, are indeed much less than in an unvaccinated person.

Does this vaccine protect against all flu?

It largely protects, H1N1 flu included. But it does not protect against rare flu like H7N9 from Southeast Asia.

What if you still have the flu?

To treat the flu , we treat the symptoms of course, and we take care not to contaminate those around us. We are indeed contagious for about a week after the onset of the disease.

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