Different Types of Flu Vaccines

The flu is a common, highly-infectious respiratory illness. Normally infections are mild with symptoms improving in 1 to 2 weeks. Common symptoms are fatigue, chills, head and body aches, runny nose, a sore throat, and coughing. People with weakened immune symptoms and members of society that are older than 65 years old may be at risk for developing life-threatening complications as a result of the flu. The flu vaccine is very common and thought to be the best way to reduce your chance of getting infected with the flu. It is generally safe for anyone over the age of 6 months old. There are a few different types of flu vaccines available:

Trivalent flu vaccines

Trivalent flu vaccines protect against three strains of the virus, namely influenza A (H1N1), influenza A (H3N2), and an influenza B virus. Within this, you can get regular standard-dose trivalent shots, which are egg-grown flu vaccines administered by an injection into a muscle in your arm. This kind of standard-dose vaccine are for people ages 18 to 64. Then, for people over the age of 65, trivalent and quadrivalent shots made with adjuvant are recommended. These shots, called Fluad (trivalent) and Fluad Quadrivalent, include an ingredient called adjuvant, which creates a stronger immune system response.

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Quadrivalent flu vaccines

These flu vaccines provide a broader protection from infection as they protect against four different strains of the flu virus (two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses). The regular standard-dose flu shot is available to people over the age of 6 months. There is also a quadrivalent shot that contains the virus grown in a cell culture, which is only available to people over the age of 4­­. The high-dose quadrivalent vaccine (Fluzone) is specifically created for people over the age of 65 as it contains four times the amount of flu virus antigen as a standard-dose shot. The antigen is the part of the vaccine that stimulates your immune system to respond to and protect you against the flu virus.

AFLURIA Quadrivalent is a type of flu shot now approved for administration by needle for people over the age of 6, or by jet injector (a medical device that uses a high-pressure stream of fluid to get into the skin) for people aged 18 to 64.

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A live attenuated intranasal spray including severely weakened flu viruses, made using eggs, can be administered as a spray for people aged 2 - 49 years as long as they are not pregnant.

For people who have a severe egg allergy, they are able to get the recombinant quadrivalent shot as it isn’t manufactured or grown from eggs. This vaccine is available for people ages 18 and older.

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Vaccination is thought to be one of the best ways to protect yourself from infection of the flu virus. It can also be beneficial in preventing secondary infections that may develop from the flu, such as bronchitis or pneumonia. In most cases, it takes 2 weeks for the flu vaccine to start protecting you. It is recommended that you consult your healthcare provider to find out which vaccine is right for you and that you get vaccinated before flu season starts.

Science Health