Despite the fact that today doctors know how to treat the flu, it cannot be treated irresponsibly. Like any disease, it is dangerous for its complications. One of the most effective ways to protect yourself from illness is to get vaccinated on time. Vaccination against influenza is included in the National Calendar of Preventive Vaccinations in Russia, reports "Komsomolskaya Pravda".
Every year everyone is vaccinated, but there are certain categories for whom an injection with a medicine is required. These are workers of medical and educational institutions, transport, children, the elderly over 60 years old. Pregnant women also need a vaccine, which can be done starting in the second trimester (after the 14th week). At risk are smokers, as well as those suffering from chronic diseases of the lungs and heart. Doctors are developing a vaccine taking into account the age of patients, so there are options for adults, the elderly and for children from 6 months, according to RBC.
When to vaccinate?
The vaccine is recommended before the onset of the disease season, as it takes about two weeks for the body to start producing antibodies. If you do it in July-August, then by the season of infection, the effect will significantly decrease. Schedule vaccinations for September - early October. This does not mean that it is pointless to do it in November or December, the risk of infection lasts for the entire period of virus activity. Keep in mind that children should start vaccination earlier, because for them the vaccine is divided into two doses, the interval between which is from four weeks.
Where to get the vaccine?
Vaccination takes place in clinics and private medical institutions. In the form of injections, the drug is injected intramuscularly into the shoulder. Some vaccines are instilled or sprayed into the nose. The only condition is the absence of signs of other diseases, even colds.
Should I be vaccinated outside the clinic?
The Department of Health has set up mobile vaccination sites. Before the injection, the patient undergoes a medical examination, after the vaccination, the doctor issues him a certificate. This is a state program created in order to accelerate vaccination of the population - the procedure takes no more than 10-15 minutes.
Children and adolescents under the age of 18, as well as people with allergies and chronic diseases, should be vaccinated in a hospital, under the supervision of a doctor. The prophylactic vaccine can be given at the vaccination rooms at the place of attachment, at mobile vaccination points, as well as at the MFC.
How long does the vaccine last?
Immunity after a flu shot is short-lived. Usually, it is only enough for one season - in the next, the vaccine will no longer protect against the flu. The previous vaccination will help only in 20 - 40% of cases.
This is due to the constant mutation of the virus. In this regard, the annual vaccination is carried out using new strains of the current season. But getting the flu shot won't save you from other illnesses. For this, it is necessary to take other preventive measures, not forgetting about a healthy lifestyle.
There are more than 30 known types of influenza, but there is no need to be vaccinated against each. The modern vaccine contains 3-4 types of virus. As a rule, this is enough to protect against the main types of disease. But there are situations when re-vaccination is required.
On average, the vaccine prevents about 60% of infections in healthy adults between the ages of 18 and 64.
It is important to protect yourself not only before but also immediately after vaccination. Immunity does not form immediately after the introduction of the vaccine, but after about two weeks. Therefore, you can get sick even with the vaccine.
What flu vaccinations are there in Russia?
Almost all modern flu vaccinations are vaccines made from viruses "killed" by formalin or UV irradiation. Influenza viruses are grown in chicken embryos, and this is the main reason for possible allergies due to traces of chicken protein in the composition.
In Russia, the drugs mainly used are Grippovac, Vaxigrip, Begrivac, Agrippal S1, Grippol, Grippol Plus, Influvac, Fluarix, Inflexal V. In total, about two dozen such vaccinations have been registered.
What if it doesn't work?
It is believed that the vaccine is useless: the person was vaccinated, then fell ill, the doctors diagnosed the flu. The fact is that many viral diseases give the same symptomatology. If you have not taken blood tests to identify a specific disease, then this may not be it.
These may include: age, health status, allergic reactions and chronic diseases. Before getting vaccinated, it is worth discussing the possible consequences with your doctor.
Children under 6 months of age are not given the flu shot. A clear contraindication is a history of Guillain-Barré syndrome (paralyzing disease, also called GBS).
Influenza and coronavirus
One of the major changes to this year's vaccine is that the high-dose influenza vaccine for people over 65 will cover four strains of the virus instead of three. Experts advise getting a flu shot to reduce your risk of contracting COVID-19.
One study has confirmed that a person can contract the flu and coronavirus at the same time, making treatment difficult and fraught with complications. The vaccine will protect the body from an unnecessary burden of dangerous seasonal illness and will help determine COVID-19, because its symptoms are similar to other respiratory diseases.
But if you want to protect yourself from both the flu and COVID-19, it is better to get both vaccinations. Doctors advise keeping a monthly interval between them so that the body has time to adapt to the first vaccine and develop antibodies.
What to do after vaccination?
Immediately after vaccination, do not rush to leave the clinic. Even if the doctor did not offer to remain under observation, you can sit in the waiting room and observe the sensations. 10-15 minutes will be enough to rule out rare allergic reactions that require immediate help.
During the day after vaccination, try not to wet the injection site. It should not be scratched, otherwise there will be a risk of infection. Adhere to a healthy diet, refusing at least the first day from fatty and spicy foods. It is better if you spend the evening after vaccination at home, avoiding crowded places and physical activity.
Doctor of Medical Sciences, Professor Alexander Sergeev spoke about all the intricacies of the production of vaccines and their safety.
- What complications can there be after a flu shot?
- Thanks to new technologies, there are fewer adverse reactions to influenza vaccines. For example, in the late 70s, during the production of a vaccine, the virus was killed, a little "cleaned" and on its basis the so-called whole-virion vaccine was created. Today, scientists understand that a whole virus is no longer needed, just a few proteins, to which an immune response is formed in the body. Therefore, at first, the virus is destroyed and everything unnecessary is removed, leaving only the necessary proteins that cause immunity from influenza. At the same time, the body perceives them as a real virus. This vaccine can be used even for those who are allergic, including chicken protein. The technology has been brought to such a level that its content is almost impossible to detect. There may be a slight reaction to the vaccine: redness, sometimes the temperature rises slightly, and a headache appears. But even such a reaction happens infrequently - about 3% of all vaccinated.
- How do you know if a vaccine is safe?
- As with any drug, individual reactions can occur to the vaccine. At the same time, modern drugs are high-tech products that undergo long-term tests (from 2 to 10 years) for the effectiveness and safety of use, therefore, there are no unsafe vaccines that have entered the market. Even after a vaccine is approved for use in human immunization, health regulatory authorities continue to monitor its quality and safety. The specialized institutes of the Ministry of Health of Russia regularly monitor the indicators of produced vaccines.
- Can I come to the vaccination with my own vaccine?
- Precisely due to the fact that the safety of the vaccine can be sure only if all transportation rules are followed, etc., it is not worth buying and bringing your own vaccine. Its quality may suffer. Much more reliable is what is stored correctly in a medical facility. Most doctors refuse to administer the vaccine brought in for this very reason.
Other questions answered
Candidate of Medical Sciences, allergist-immunologist, pediatrician Oleg Togoev
- Is there a difference between imported and domestic vaccines, which are better?
- There is no fundamental difference.
- Is it possible to pick up a vaccine in a polyclinic or is there only one?
- Most often in the clinic there is one vaccine, usually domestic.
- Is it possible to combine the flu shot with other vaccinations (primarily for young children, there are many other vaccines for them on schedule). What is more priority?
- All vaccinations (with the exception of BCG) are combined with each other and can be given at the same time. The only rule recommended by WHO is to do no more than 4 injections at a time. However, one vaccine can contain up to 7 antigens, and this is normal and convenient.