What do I have to have to know about this year’s flu shot?

Industry experts say it truly is pretty much time to roll up your sleeve for the annual flu shot. 

But this year, some pharmacists say people have issues about the influenza vaccine rollout, which will coincide with the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines that goal Omicron strains — also known as bivalent vaccines.

Ashley Davidson, a pharmacist and associate operator of Consumers Drug Mart in St. Albert, Alta., has fielded a large amount of issues.

“So several persons are inquiring about flu pictures and I consider a great deal of that conversation arrives around how do they time their vaccines and what does that glimpse like?” she advised Dr. Brian Goldman, host of CBC’s podcast The Dose

Here is what experts have to say about this year’s flu vaccines. 

What do we know about the approaching flu season?

The number of flu scenarios this yr could search a very little distinct than what we’ve seen in excess of the last couple of a long time.

“What has changed in the final two years is we had historical lows all through the pandemic and we’ve now been in the time of uncertainty about when is it going to occur back again, what is it going to glimpse like,” said Dr. Robyn Harrison, vice-chair of the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) and infectious condition expert, on Wednesday during a webinar on seasonal influenza.

An case in point of what could come is Australia’s latest flu time, which takes place ahead of Canada’s for the reason that it is in the southern hemisphere.

The region not too long ago had its worst season in years, with data from Australia’s Division of Wellbeing and Aged Treatment exhibiting influenza infections were larger than the five-year ordinary and infections notably spiked, then dropped, before than normal. 

Canadians also have not experienced much exposure to flu around the final couple of years due to the fact of mask mandates and other community health and fitness actions introduced during the pandemic, Davidson said.

“A single factor that stands out to me this year is that we is not going to have masks in educational institutions. So that is heading to enhance the possible publicity for flu virus for young children as nicely,” she stated. 

In accordance to professionals, influenza is a serious ailment. Up until eventually 2019, it is estimated that there are on average 12,000 healthcare facility stays in Canada because of to influenza each and every year, and about 3,500 fatalities every single calendar year are induced by the flu, Harrison reported.

Influenza is incredibly contagious and spreads by respiratory droplets which cause an infection. Symptoms can differ but normally incorporate fever, sore throat, runny nose, cough, fatigue and muscle mass aches.

Who is eligible for a flu shot?

Specialists say it truly is vital to get a flu shot each yr as vaccine-induced immunity does wane in excess of time. 

There are 3 sorts of influenza vaccines accepted in Canada, according to NACI:

  • Inactivated influenza vaccine
  • Recombinant influenza vaccines
  • Dwell attenuated influenza vaccine

Any person 6 months of age or older who does not have a recognized negative reaction to the vaccine should get a flu shot just about every 12 months. 

“The reason why young children below six months of age are not provided in that is since we know that they you should not mount a very good immune reaction to influenza vaccines,” said Dr. Jesse Papenburg, a pediatric infectious disease and medical microbiology expert, for the duration of Wednesday’s webinar. He is also the chair of the NACI influenza functioning team. 

A well being-care employee prepares a flu shot in Calgary. In accordance to specialists, it is vital to get a flu shot each yr as vaccine-induced immunity does wane in excess of time. (Leah Hennel)

He said the suggested flu shot plan for young children nine and more mature and older people is just one dose of the influenza vaccine at the beginning of flu time. 

For youngsters aged six months to 8 yrs who have nevertheless to acquire a flu shot, NACI suggests two doses given at minimum four months apart. 

Who should not get a flu shot?

Papenburg reported NACI suggestions for those who shouldn’t get any of the flu shots involve:

  • Men and women who have had an anaphylactic response to any of the vaccine’s elements, besides for eggs.
  • Men and women who have developed Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) in six weeks of a past flu vaccine (except if a different cause has been discovered).
  • Infants under six months of age.

NACI’s tips on who shouldn’t get the are living attenuated influenza vaccine can be found below

When need to I get a flu shot?

Davidson recommends that people today get the influenza vaccine as shortly as it is really accessible.

Canada’s flu period usually lasts from mid-October to April or early May, Davidson claimed. 

“I will generally remind clients that even though you can get your flu shot proper absent, it does choose about two weeks to produce an immune reaction to that vaccination,” she explained. 

“It is vital to get your shot as soon as you can to guarantee that you have coverage by the flu time.”

Can I get a flu shot and a COVID-19 vaccine at the identical time?

For most people, the shorter solution is of course.

For folks age five and older, all seasonal influenza vaccines, such as the live-attenuated influenza vaccine, might be supplied at the same time or prior to or immediately after other vaccines, which include COVID-19 vaccines, according to the most latest recommendations from NACI. 

“It is critical that you might be shielded from both viruses all through the winter season,” said Davidson. 

Watch | Industry experts crack down what to count on from flu year this calendar year: 

Daybreak Kamloops7:15Flu period anticipated to be far more rigorous this calendar year

If there is a year to get the flu shot, this one would be a person of them. Industry experts say we could be in for a severe flu time this fall

Even so, little ones aged six months to 5 a long time should not acquire a COVID-19 vaccine and an influenza shot at the same time, according to NACI, which instead suggests people in this age team wait around 14 times in between COVID-19 shots and other vaccines.

It’s a precautionary tactic “to reduce faulty attribution of adverse activities following immunization to one individual vaccine or the other,” reads the committee’s advice. 

How successful are flu vaccines this yr?

Specialists say influenza vaccines have been proven to support reduce influenza, transmission, difficulties and hospitalizations. 

The usefulness of flu vaccines can range calendar year-to-12 months mainly because it all depends on the strains circulating, Davidson and Harrison explained. 

For the 2004-2005 flu year to 2019-20, Harrison explained the efficiency of influenza vaccines in Canada has various between around 40 to 70 per cent. 

Just about every yr, World Health Firm (WHO) gurus make tips on which strains of the influenza virus should be targeted by the vaccines. 

This calendar year, WHO advised 3 influenza strains — one influenza A (H1N1) a single influenza A (H3N2) and a single influenza B — for inclusion in the trivalent flu shot. 

Even though the flu vaccine’s performance can fluctuate, equally Harrison and Davidson concur that it does supply protection. 

“The usefulness of the vaccine might not be 100 for every cent and may possibly not persist beyond a calendar year, but has impression and that is why it can be advisable,” Harrison reported.

Prepared and generated by Stephanie Dubois

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