With the start of flu season, you would’ve already seen a lot of advertisements or signs to get a flu shot. However, knowing what to pick with several flu vaccine options may be confusing. Does it make a difference about which one you should get?
You are not alone if you feel confused or overwhelmed about which flu vaccine you should get. In this blog, we will discuss the available flu vaccine options, the possible advantages of specific vaccines, and the expected effectiveness of the flu vaccine.
Things you need to know about the 2022-2023 flu season
While nobody is sure about how bad the upcoming flu season will be, here are some of the flu information we know so far:
- The flu season of 2021-2022 was less severe than the typical years. It is likely due to people who perform more social distancing between January and March in response to the Omicron variant.
- The flu transmission in other countries is lower than usual this year. The WHO meets twice a year for the reviewal of flu activity around the world. They recommend what strains to include in the flu vaccine.
- Even though the flu vaccine may not protect against all strains of the flu, it is still recommended for everyone over six months. The flu vaccine is usually about 40% to 60% effective. It is hard to predict if the current flu vaccines would be a good match for the strains that go around.
Which flu vaccine is effective?
When flu vaccines are produced, the strains included are standardized by the FDA. Each of the vaccines in 2022-2023 includes:
- Two types A flu viruses (H3N2 and H1N1)
- Two type B viruses (Yamagata and Victoria lineages)
It means that you are protected against the same strains no matter what vaccine you choose. Flu vaccines are usually between 40% to 60% effective from year to year. But when you think about picking the right flu vaccine for you, you may need to consider other factors.
The best flu vaccine for people over 65
As we get old, the immune system has a hard time responding to vaccines and illnesses. It helps to provide better protection; there are a few recommended options for older adults this year:
- Flublok Quadrivalent
- Fluad Quadrivalent
- Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent – also known as the ‘high-dose flu shot.’
If one of these three vaccines is unavailable, you should still get the vaccination and another flu vaccine that is FDA-approved for your age range. All flu vaccines are effective against the flu. Therefore, it is better to be vaccinated than to wait for a specific flu vaccine to become available.
Is there a chance of getting the flu from the flu vaccine?
No, it is highly unlikely. The virus in the flu vaccine is either dead or extremely weak. Because of this, the flu vaccines are unable to cause the flu. However, few people may experience flu-like symptoms in the days that follow the vaccine. These are side effects of the flu vaccine, which is a sign that your immune system is learning to fight the flu virus.
After the flu vaccine, you may experience:
- Muscle aches
- Low fever
- Swollen, red, or sore arm
Keep in mind that these are the expected side effects and do not mean you are getting sick with the flu. Thus, the symptoms should go away within a few days.
There are many options for flu vaccines during the flu season. No matter what you choose, fly vaccine effectiveness should be the same. Few flu vaccines may be a better option for specific groups, like people with life-threatening allergies and older adults. If you still have questions about the flu vaccine, ensure you talk to your healthcare provider and get vaccinated.