Responses to the flu vaccine

In the United States, Novartis produces the leading injectable form of influenza vaccine, fluvirin, while MedImmune produces the only approved intranasal form, FluMist. Most people vaccinated with both forms have increased their resistance to flu and experience few or very mild side effects. Neither flu shots or nasal sprays come without risks, but so patients must inform themselves about what to expect when getting vaccinated.


No flu vaccine provides complete protection against infection because the types of influenza viruses that circulate from year to year circulate. The vaccine formulations also change every year to keep up with mutations, and if there is a good match between circulating strains and the strains in the vaccine, protection can reach up to 90 percent. Even in years of poorer consistency, the immunity rate in people who receive flu vaccines is around 70 percent.

Flu Shot Side Effects

People may feel some pain at the injection site after having a flu shot. The skin around the pinprick may also turn red for a short time, and patients may develop a mild fever.

Flu shot contra

Children who are younger than 6 months old should not have a flu shot. Also, someone with an active disease that produces fever should wait until they have completely recovered from this disease before having a flu shot. After Guillain-Barré develops within a month and half of those with an earlier flu shot get someone disqualified from receiving another in the future.

Side effects of vaccination

The most common side effects in people who have received the double sprays of FluMist vaccine are runny nose, mild fever, nasal congestion and sore throat. Some patients have also experienced headaches, coughs, muscle aches and shortness of breath.

Nasal vaccination contraindications

Egg, gentamicin and gelatin allergies bar people from the reception FluMist. Even children who are taking aspirin or who are younger than 2 years of age must receive flu shots instead of the intranasal vaccine. Health care providers need to decide whether the benefits of using FluMist for people with asthma, people who have had Guillain-Barré, people with weakened immune systems or people with heart disease or diabetes outweigh the risks.


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Christina Cherry
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