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Flu Vaccine Facts

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The flu vaccine protects people against the influenza virus. Every year, scientists develop the vaccine based on the three or four influenza viruses that research indicates will be the most common during the upcoming flu season. The flu shot is most commonly given with a needle in the arm.

What types of flu vaccines are available?
Can the flu vaccine cause the flu?
When does protection from flu begin?
What are the side effects of the flu vaccine?
How effective is the vaccine?
What does the flu vaccine cost?

What types of flu vaccines are available?

There are several types of influenza vaccines. The chart below shows the various types of flu vaccines provided by MedStar Visiting Nurse Association (VNA).

Type of Vaccine

Components

Approved for:

Standard-Dose Trivalent* Shot Made using virus grown in chickens’ eggs Different ages; Some are approved for people 6 months of age and older
High-Dose Trivalent* Shot Contains four times the amount of antigen than the standard flu shot. The additional antigen helps the body create a stronger immune response. Adults 65 years of age and older
Quadrivalent** Shot Made using virus grown in eggs Different ages; Some are approved for people 6 months of age and older

* Trivalent flu vaccines protect against two influenza A viruses (an H1N1 and an H3N2) and an influenza B virus.
**Quadrivalent flu vaccines protect against two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses.

Can the flu vaccine cause the flu?

No. This is a myth. Flu vaccines that are administered with a needle are currently made in two ways:

The most common side effects from the flu shot are soreness, redness, tenderness or swelling where the vaccine was given. A low fever, headache and muscle aches may also occur.

When does protection from flu begin?

The vaccine begins to provide protection within one to two weeks after vaccination. About 70 to 90 percent of healthy people who get the influenza vaccine are completely protected against the flu. The other 10 to 30 percent may still get the flu, but with greatly lessened symptoms.

What are the side effects of the flu vaccine?

Side effects of the vaccine are generally mild in adults and rarely occur. The most frequent side effect is soreness around the vaccination site for up to two days. This occurs in less than one-third of those vaccinated. A cool compress applied at 15-minute intervals should relieve soreness.

How effective is the vaccine?

The effectiveness of the flu vaccine depends on the age and health status of the person getting the vaccine. It also depends on the similarity or "match" between the virus or viruses in the vaccine and the viruses circulating in the public.

What does the flu vaccine cost?

The flu vaccine is covered by Medicare Part B and many insurance companies.

Call Us Today

To learn more about MedStar VNA’s vaccination and wellness programs, call:
800-231-3201.

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