There is one vaccine that everyone – you, me, regardless of age – should take yearly. Do you know which vaccination I am referring to? That’s right, it’s the influenza vaccination, or more commonly known as the flu jab.
The symptoms of influenza infection tend to be more significant than the common cold, and usually occur suddenly. The role of the flu jab is to induce antibody production in the body against the viruses contained in the vaccine. This usually takes about 2 weeks.
What are the risks of influenza and is it preventable with vaccination?
Influenza is highly contagious, and it can cause serious complications like pneumonia (lung infection) and meningitis (acute inflammation of the linings of the brain). People at higher risk of developing complications are the elderly above 65 years old, children less than 5 years old, patients with chronic medical conditions, and pregnant women.
The flu jab has been shown to reduce the incidence of flu-related hospitalisations, ICU-stays, and deaths, and severity of flu illness.
How frequently should you be vaccinated and why?
The jab is recommended to be taken yearly. The reasons are simple: firstly, our immunity wanes over time, and secondly, the prevalent viruses change from time to time. The seasonal flu jab will include viruses that research indicates will be the most common in the upcoming season.
Who is suitable for the jab?
Everyone, 6 months of age and above, can take the jab. Those less than 9 years old will require 2 jabs the first-time round. Thereafter, it is a yearly affair.
What are the side effect?
Main side-effects, if any, include soreness, ache or redness at the site of injection, and low-grade fever. Symptoms usually appear soon after the jab and may last for 1-2 days.
Can Medisave be used for the influenza vaccine?
Medisave usage is applicable for certain groups, e.g. the elderly age 65 years and above, patients with chronic medical conditions, and pregnant ladies. Do check with your doctor about this.
Publication: 8th October 2019