Influenza 2018: What Vaccine Users Should Know About Vaccination


Attention, symbol photo syringe! Photo: imago

Hello, vaccine opponents – these 7 responses to flu are especially for you

Daniel Huber /

Many people do not want to be vaccinated – for different reasons. However, highly contagious influenza ("flu") is often underestimated because you like to confuse them with a significantly harmless influenza infection ("cold"). The flu seriously weakens the immune system and can cause fatal complications.

Although the vaccine does not provide 100% protection against infections, it is the best cure for the flu. The vaccine is most effective if taken before the onset of the flu episode – preferably between mid-October and mid-November. It is recommended for those who want to protect themselves and do not want to infect other people. If you belong to a risk group (see section 5), vaccination is urgently needed.

How effective is the flu vaccine?

The vaccine can not provide absolute protection because influenza viruses mutate so the immune system can not always detect and combat it safely. Efficacy also depends on which virus circulates and if the vaccine covers them. Coverage varies from year to year, but generally exceeds 90%.

In addition, other factors, such as the age of the vaccinee, influence efficacy – is lower in the elderly. Therefore, the vaccine's efficacy for a given season can not be accurately quantified – according to the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH)
young adults the risk of disease by 70-90 percent, in the elderly around
30 to 50 percent

However, if it is a disease despite the vaccine, the symptoms are often
weakened In addition, serious complications occur less frequently.

Can the vaccine have side effects?

Yes. In about one third of people vaccinated, redness and slight swelling or pain occur at the injection site. They disappear within a few hours to two days and do not require treatment.

Nausea, rash, edema, allergic asthma or – usually with an allergy already present – are more rarely associated with a severe allergic reaction. If you suffer from serious side effects, you should see a doctor.

It extremely rarely comes to a Guillain-BarrĂ© syndrome (GBS) – about in a case to a million vaccinated. However, GBS occurs much more often as a result of a complication of an influenza infection. The vaccine, therefore, protects more from GBS than it triggers. In any case, the risk of the flu causing serious complications is much greater than that of the serious side effects of the vaccine.

Can the vaccine trigger the flu?

No, this is not possible. The vaccine, which stimulates the immune system to produce specific antibodies, consists of fragments of inactivated viruses from various strains of the influenza virus. You can not cause the flu.

Why do people vaccinated sometimes have flu-like symptoms?

Five reasons can lead to:

Insufficient coverage: If the vaccine does not completely cover the circulating viral strains, it only provides partial protection.

Low protection: Particularly in the elderly or immunocompromised, vaccination emerges only a weakened immune system and then only partially protected. However, if they have the flu, the symptoms are less and less likely to cause complications.

Time of vaccination: It takes about two weeks for the body's immune system to develop. At this point you may be infected.

Side effects of vaccination: Five to ten percent of the vaccinated may react with fever, muscle aches or mild discomfort. These symptoms are generally harmless and disappear after a short period of time.

cold: Often, a harmless cold is mistaken for the flu because the symptoms are similar. However, colds rarely cause complications.

Who should be vaccinated?

Those who belong to a risk group should be vaccinated. This concerns:

  • People over 60
  • Pregnant women in the second trimester (so the baby is also protected during the first months of life)
  • Premature infants at six months of age during the first two flu seasons
  • chronic illness
  • overweight people with a BMI over 40
  • medical staff and caregivers because they have an increased risk of infection. They also have a greater risk of infecting patients.
  • Residents of nursing homes and the elderly

Where we already talked about health:

Should I be vaccinated even though you do not belong to a risk group?

If you come in contact with people at home or at work who are at greater risk of complications, you should get vaccinated. How to prevent you from infecting these vulnerable people.

In healthy children and healthy younger adults, seasonal influenza usually goes without complications. Your symptoms are uncomfortable. In addition, a vaccination in the fall can prevent, for example, during the winter holidays, the flu.

When NOT to be vaccinated?

Those who have had a severe allergic reaction to any vaccine in a previous flu vaccine should not be vaccinated. This also applies to people who are very allergic to egg white.

If you have a high fever, you should wait with the vaccine until it has subsided. Otherwise, vaccine protection could be reduced.

In contrast, during pregnancy and lactation, the flu vaccine can be made without hesitation. It is recommended to protect the mother and the newborn against influenza infection.

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