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I don't know about you, but when I hear the term Flu I think Doomsday. Flus and Colds can be quite incapacitating and it's worse that most Flu medications render someone drowsy and non productive. There are cases of mortality as a result of flu and influenza related upper respiratory tract infections, especially amongst immunocompromised populations like children, elderly and sick.
Influenza vaccines also known as flu vaccines or flu shots offer protection against influenza virus which is responsible for most common upper respiratory tract infections. The vaccine works by eliciting an immune response which causes the body to develop antibodies against the influenza virus antigen.
Who can get the vaccine?
Anyone above the age of 6 months is eligible to get the Flu shot. Their health status should however be accessed to ensure they are healthy/immunocompetent.
How many times should I get the vaccine?
The influenza vaccine is administered yearly. The effect of the vaccine wears down over time hence need for a booster dose. Secondly, flu viruses are always changing (mutation) which necessitates reviewal of the vaccine formulation and update as necessary.
Does it mean I won't have a flu once I get the vaccine?
A flu vaccine doesn't necessarily mean zero flu infections, it means reduced frequency of flu infections, reduced severity, reduced cases of hospitalization and finally reduced spread of the infection to family and those around.
Can the vaccine make me sick?
Chances of the vaccine making someone sick are very negligible, unless someone had the virus in the body before vaccination. This is because influenza vaccine comes in the form of Killed/inactivated virus or proteins of the virus.
What are the side effects of the vaccine?
Minor side effects experienced in a very small percentage of the population include: soreness and swelling at the site of administration, low grade fever, allergic reactions to components of the vaccine.
How is the vaccine administered?
The vaccine is administered as an intramuscular injection on the upper arm.
How soon will the vaccine start working?
Like most vaccines, the flu vaccine takes around 14days for the body to produce antibodies against the flu.
Where can I get the vaccine?
The vaccine can be administered at Vaccination Centers like Portal Pharmacy along Banda Street in Nairobi CBD.
With this information in mind I hope you will be able to make an informed decision as you protect yourself and your family from the flu.