How effective is the flu shot?
The ability of a flu vaccine to protect a person depends on the age and health status of the person getting the vaccine, and the similarity or “match” between the viruses or virus in the vaccine and those in circulation.
What are the risks from getting a flu shot?
You cannot get the flu from a flu shot. The risk of a flu shot causing serious harm or death is extremely small. However, a vaccine, like any medicine, may rarely cause serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions. Almost all people who get influenza vaccine have no serious problems from it.
What are the side effects that could occur?
- Soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given
- Fever (low grade)
If these problems occur, they begin soon after the shot and usually last one to two days.
What is quadrivalent flu vaccine?
The quadrivalent flu vaccine is designed to protect against four different flu viruses; two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses.
Why was the quadrivalent flu vaccine developed?
For years, flu vaccines were designed to protect against three different flu viruses (trivalent). This included an influenza A H1N1 virus, an influenza A H3N2 virus and one B virus. Experts had to choose one B virus, even though there are two very different lineages of B viruses that both circulate during most seasons. This meant the vaccine did not protect against the group of B viruses not included in the vaccine. Adding another B virus to the vaccine aims to give broader protection against circulating flu viruses.
For more information, go to the CDC’s web page at https://www.cdc.gov/flu/index.htm
Submitted by: Diana Anderson, RN, DHA, MSNEd, EMBA, CMSRN, Infection Preventionist at Summit Healthcare