Influenza vaccination – wise

English name: Influenza Vaccine
Other names: influenza vaccine, influenza vaccine

History and development of vaccination through time

In the past and for a long time it was believed that influenza was caused by a type of bacteria, but after the Spanish influenza epidemic in 1919-1918 AD and from observing the symptoms on a wider segment of the population, suspicion began that the influenza may be caused by a virus, and this suspicion was not proven until the year 1930 AD.

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There are four main types of influenza (A, B, C, D), the two types (A & B) are the most famous and most important for humans, and they are divided into multiple strains that differ according to the proteins on the surface of the virus.

In 1938 AD, the first influenza vaccine was developed using fertilized chicken eggs and a strain of killed influenza A virus. This vaccine was used to protect soldiers in World War II, and years later it was allowed to be used for civilians.

There were two dilemmas for this vaccine, the first of which was that the vaccine against influenza A could not protect against influenza B. The other dilemma was that the vaccine was not as pure as today’s vaccines, so it caused many side effects, such as: (heat, pain and general fatigue). ). As a result of these two dilemmas, it was believed that the vaccinated leads to influenza!

In 1942 AD, a bivalent influenza vaccine was developed that contained killed viruses that protected against influenza A & B. In 1978, a triple influenza vaccine containing killed viruses was developed that protected against two strains of influenza A and a strain of influenza B, while in 2012 a quadruple influenza vaccine was developed that protects against two strains of influenza A and two strains of influenza B.

How are the types of virus that will be contained in the vaccine chosen?

More than 100 centers in more than 100 countries around the world examine thousands of patients every year and send reports and samples to specialized centers in the World Health Organization; With the aim of identifying the most prevalent viruses in each region and preparing the appropriate vaccination.

How does the influenza vaccination work and what are its components?

The idea behind the vaccine is to introduce a very weakened virus or killed virus, or part of its envelope, in small quantities into the human body. Where the virus or its parts are recognized by the immune system as a foreign body; it produces antibodies to this virus; Thus, in the event of infection with the virus at a later time, the immune system is ready and kills the virus before any damage occurs to the human body.

What are the types of influenza vaccination?

The vaccine can be given by injection into a muscle or as a nasal spray.

  1. The flu shot
    Which is usually injected into the arm muscle, contains a killed virus that is never able to multiply in the human body; Thus, there will be no chance of contracting influenza from the vaccinated, whether for those with normal or weak immunity.
  2. Nasal spray
    It consists of a spray that contains weakened viruses (not killed like an injection) that is sprayed into the nose, and the weakened virus is modified in laboratories in order to reduce its ability to reproduce and influence, so it does not cause any harm to people with natural immunity, but there is a small chance of contracting influenza with very mild symptoms. Just like heat, but if it enters bodies with weak immunity, it may multiply and cause influenza.

There are three criteria that must be taken care of before choosing any type of scion:

  1. The strength of the immune system
    People with weakened immune systems are more likely to catch the flu from a nasal spray. They must take the injection, such as patients who take immunosuppressive drugs, cancer patients who take chemotherapy doses, and pregnant women who have acquired or hereditary immune diseases.
  2. Other chronic diseases
    People with weakened immune systems are more likely to catch the flu from a nasal spray. They must take the injection, such as patients who take immunosuppressive drugs, cancer patients who take chemotherapy doses, and pregnant women who have acquired or hereditary immune diseases.
  3. the age
    We can give the injection to everyone over six months old, while the nasal spray can be given to children between the ages of two years and the age of forty-nine, provided that they do not have any of the conditions we mentioned earlier.

Who are the people who should get vaccinated? And when?

It is recommended that everyone who is 6 months of age or older be vaccinated annually.

As a healthy person with strong immunity, your infection may be simple and you recover quickly without complications, but during your illness you may transmit the infection to people with weak immunity from your family or colleagues at school or work, so when it takes the largest number of the vaccinated community, this reduces the chance of the virus reaching the groups most vulnerable.

It is also recommended to take the vaccine two weeks before the expected flu season each year, which is the time needed for immunity to form antibodies.

It is also preferable to take the vaccinated at the end of the ninth and tenth months of each year (September and October) before the start of the influenza season. If it is not possible to take it on this date, it can be taken at any time later in the year.

The World Health Organization recommends annual influenza vaccination for these groups:

  1. Pregnant women at any stage of their pregnancy
  2. Children from six months to five years old
  3. The elderly, or those over 65 years old
  4. People with chronic diseases
  5. Medical staff

Does the vaccine protect against swine and bird flu?

The swine flu known as (H1N1), which caused the 2009 pandemic, is included in the annual vaccination and has become a normal seasonal flu because it occurs every year in large numbers.

As for avian influenza, the influenza vaccine does not protect against it, but it reduces complications that occur if you are infected with avian influenza and seasonal influenza together.

In the following article, you can learn the difference between swine and bird flu and seasonal flu.

Should the vaccination be taken annually? And why?

The answer is yes. As the effect of the vaccine decreases with the passage of the year, which may fade at the end of the season, in addition to that scientists update the strains in the vaccine annually in order to suit the species spread in that year due to the occurrence of continuous mutations that change the external shape of the virus.

Is it possible to get infected after taking the vaccination?

According to the CDC, it is possible to catch the flu in the following cases:

  • In the event that the influenza vaccine was taken early in the year (before the month of 10), as the effect of the influenza vaccination and the number of antibodies has decreased before the end of the influenza season.
  • The vaccinated person needs two weeks to build up immunity, during which time you can catch the flu.
  • Failure to form appropriate immunity due to a hereditary or acquired immune disease.
  • Scientists renew the vaccine annually to contain the most prevalent strains in that year, and every year there is a mismatch between the prevalent species and the species that the vaccine protects against. So there is a chance of infection.
  • The vaccine does not protect against cold-causing viruses, which may cause symptoms similar to influenza, but their severity is less, which makes the patient think that he has the flu.
  • In some cases, the vaccinated may not succeed despite the matching strains.

Does vaccination more than once during the same season increase immunity?

The answer is no, but: some may think that if one dose of vaccinated is good, then two doses are better, but it is not the mechanism of action of our immune system. The Drug Control Department confirms that there is no benefit from taking another dose, even for the elderly.

But for children between the ages of six months to eight years: They may need a second dose to obtain adequate protection. Children who will take the vaccine for the first time or have taken only one dose in previous years must take two doses four weeks apart, so the vaccination process must be started for this. class earlier than others.

When should you ask the doctor before taking the vaccine?

  • If you had a fever at the time of the vaccination or a week before
  • If you have had complications from the vaccine before
  • If you have Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a disease that affects the nerves and begins with weakness in the muscles of the foot.

Is vaccination safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding?

Yes, it is safe for both pregnant and breastfeeding women. Rather, the Department of Disease Control recommends that pregnant and breastfeeding women be vaccinated.

However, pregnant women are advised to inject the vaccine, not the nasal spray, because they are more susceptible to influenza compared to non-pregnant women of childbearing age, and more likely to develop complications and need hospitalization.

Vaccination and not getting infected with influenza protects the fetus from exposure to neurological deformities as a result of the mother’s high temperature during pregnancy, and the mother can transfer immune memory cells against influenza to her fetus to protect him from influenza in the first period of his life until he reaches the age allowed to receive the vaccine (the age of six months). Vaccination of a breastfeeding mother reduces the infection of the mother, and thus reduces the transmission of infection to her child.

To learn more, read the article Flu during pregnancy.

Influenza vaccination in light of the new Corona epidemic

It is known that the influenza vaccine will not protect against infection with the emerging corona virus, but due to the expectation of a wide spread of seasonal influenza in the fall and winter seasons and the similarity of their symptoms, it is recommended to take the vaccine for the following reasons:

  1. While you have the flu and get to the hospital to get the required care, your chance of contracting the emerging coronavirus increases.
  2. In addition, the increase in the population segment that received vaccination reduces its prevalence in society and provides medical staff and facilities to take care of Corona patients.

You can read more about seasonal flu and the common cold.

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