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Answers to Common Questions about the Flu Vaccine

November 8, 2019

>>Dr. Tim Uyeki:
Hello, I’m Dr. Tim Uyeki with the CDC influenza division. This video is intended for
general audiences as well as physicians and other
healthcare providers. Today I’ll provide answers to several common questions
patients have regarding the flu vaccine. I would like to begin
with a question; why should I get a flu vaccine? CDC recommends a yearly flu
vaccine for everyone 6 months and older is the first
and most important step in protecting against the flu. The flu is a serious disease
that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Each year in the United States
more than 200,000 people on average are hospitalized
from flu related complications. Flu seasons are unpredictable
and can be severe. Over a period of 30 years,
between 1976 and 2006, CDC estimates flu associated
deaths range from a low of about 3,000 during the
year with the lowest number of estimated deaths to a high of about 49,000 people
during the year with the highest number
of estimated deaths. Even healthy children and adults
can get very sick from the flu and spread to family
and friends. The next question is; what
does seasonal flu vaccine protect against? Well there are many
different flu viruses. The flu vaccine protects
against the 3 viruses that research suggests
will be most common. This includes an
influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus,
and an influenza B virus. The next question is;
should I get the flu shot or the nasal spray vaccine? Although the flu vaccine is
available in the form of shots or a nasal spray, there
are some differences in the groups recommended
for each. Regular flu shots are
FDA licensed for use in people 6 months of age
and older, including people with long-term health
conditions and pregnant women. The intradermal flu shot which
uses a 90% smaller needle than the regular flu shot and is
injected into the skin instead of the muscle is FDA
licensed for use in adults 18 through 64 years of age. A high dose flu shot is FDA
licensed specifically for use in people 65 years
of age and older. The nasal spray vaccine, also known as the live
attenuated influenza vaccine or LAIV, is FDA licensed
for healthy people 2 through 49 years of age
who are not pregnant. The term “healthy”
is used to indicate that the vaccine is not
recommended for use in people with asthma, heart
disease, diabetes, and other long-term
medical conditions. The next question is; how
effective is the flu vaccine? How well the flu vaccine works
can vary from year to year and among different
groups of people, depending upon 2 factors: 1) how well the vaccine
virus is are matched to viruses causing illness
that season, and 2) the health and age of the person
being vaccinated. While how well the
vaccine works can vary, flu vaccines are the first and
best defense we have to protect against a serious disease. It’s important to note
that it takes about 2 weeks after vaccination for antibodies
to develop in the body that provide protection
against flu virus infection. In the meantime, you’re still
at risk for getting the flu. Also note that the flu
vaccine does not protect against non-flu viruses
that can cause colds and other respiratory illnesses. Even in seasons where there
is a less than ideal match between the flu vaccine and
flu viruses in the community, vaccination can help protect against serious flu-related
complications, including hospitalization. Despite the benefits
provided by flu vaccination, some people who have been
vaccinated can still get the flu. This may be true especially
among older people and people with certain chronic illnesses
whose bodies are less likely to mount a protective immune
response following vaccination than those of healthy
young adults. The next question is; why do I
need a flu vaccine every year? There are 2 reasons for
getting a yearly flu vaccine. The first reason is that
because flu viruses are constantly changing. Flu vaccine may be updated
from one season to the next to protect against
the most recent and most commonly
circulating flu viruses. The second reason is that a
person’s immune protection from vaccination
declines over time and annul vaccination is
needed for optimal protection. This decline in protection against the flu may be
influenced by several factors, including a person’s age, the
antigen used in the vaccine, and the person’s health. For example; chronic
health conditions that weaken the immune
system may have an impact. This decline in protection
has the potential to leave some people more
vulnerable to infection, illness, and possible
serious complications from the same flu viruses a
year after being vaccinated. So for optimal protection
against the flu, annul vaccination is
recommended regardless of whether the viruses in the
vaccine have changed or not since the previous season. This concludes the CDC video
on answers to common questions about the flu vaccine. Thank you for watching. For more information related
to flu and flu vaccine, please visit the CDC flu
webpage at


  • Reply Vax Not September 3, 2013 at 8:34 am

    The CDC website had said "There has been growing concern that the live virus MMR vaccination is associated with an increased incidence of ITP (idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura)." Research shows that most cases seem to come on in the 6-week period after a patient receives the Measles Mumps Rubella vaccine.

  • Reply kary graham-lofton September 26, 2019 at 1:57 am

    "the flu is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death."
    Now that is a scare tactic for sure… Typically, the flu is just a regular virus that comes and goes with proper nutrition, vitamin and mineral intake, rest and water! That's what he should have said….

  • Reply Marlene Campbell October 22, 2019 at 2:20 am

    If you feel yourself getting sick try to change your PH quickly, take a teaspoon of baking soda in water, and breathe until you are dizzy.

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