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Influenza Virus Vaccine (Systemic)
In the U.S.-
Another commonly used name is flu vaccine.
Influenza (in-floo-EN-za) virus vaccine is used to prevent infection by the influenza viruses. The vaccine works by causing your body to produce its own protection (antibodies) against the disease. It is also known as a ****œflu shot." New for the 2003-2004 flu season, influenza virus vaccine is also available as a nasal spray.
There are many kinds of influenza viruses, but not all will cause problems in any given year. Therefore, before the influenza vaccine for each year is produced, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. and Canadian Public Health Services decide which influenza viruses will be most likely to cause influenza infection that year. Then they include the antigens (substances that cause protective antibodies to be formed) to these viruses in the influenza vaccine made available. Usually, the U.S. and Canada use the same influenza vaccine; however, they are not required to do so.
It is necessary to receive an influenza vaccine injection each year, since influenza infections are usually caused by different kinds of influenza viruses each year and because the protection gained by the vaccine lasts less than a year.
Influenza is a virus infection of the throat, bronchial tubes, and lungs. Influenza infection causes fever, chills, cough, headache, and muscle aches and pains in your back, arms, and legs. In addition, adults and children weakened by other diseases or medical conditions and persons 50 years of age and over, even if they are healthy, may get a much more serious illness and may have to be treated in a hospital. Each year thousands of people die as a result of an influenza infection.
The best way to help prevent influenza infection is to get an influenza vaccination each year, usually in early November. Immunization (administration of vaccine) against influenza is approved for infants 6 months of age and over, all children, and all adults.
Influenza virus vaccine may not protect all persons given the vaccine.
This vaccine is to be administered only by or under the supervision of your doctor or other health care professional. It is available in the following dosage form:
Before Using This Medicine
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For influenza vaccine, the following should be considered:
Allergies- Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to influenza vaccine or to antibiotics, such as gentamicin, streptomycin, or other aminoglycosides. Influenza vaccine available in the U.S. or Canada may contain these antibiotics in very small amounts. Also tell your health care professional if you are allergic to any other substances, such as foods (especially eggs) or preservatives (especially sodium bisulfite or thimerosal). Influenza vaccine is grown in the fluids of chick embryos.
Pregnancy- Influenza vaccine (****œshot") has not been shown to cause birth defects or other problems in humans.
The nasal mist vaccine should not be given to a pregnant women.
Breast-feeding- Influenza vaccine (****œshot") has not been reported to cause problems in nursing babies.
The nasal mist vaccine may cause viral shedding in the mother. This shedding could infect the infant while breast-feeding.
Children- Use is not recommended for infants up to 6 months of age . In addition, only a split-virus influenza vaccine (****œshot") should be given to children 6 months to 12 years of age. Some side effects of the vaccine, such as fever, unusual tiredness or weakness, or aches or pains in muscles, are more likely to occur in infants and children, who are usually more sensitive than adults to the effects of influenza vaccine.
The nasal mist vaccine should not be used in children less than 5 years of age.
Older adults- This vaccine (****œshot") is not expected to cause different side effects or problems in older persons than it does in younger adults. However, elderly persons may not become as immune to head and upper chest influenza infections as younger adults, although the vaccine may still be effective in preventing lower chest influenza infections and other complications of influenza.
The nasal mist vaccine should not be used in adults 50 years of age and older.
Other medicines- Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your health care professional if you are using any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.
When you are taking the nasal mist influenza vaccine it is especially important that your health care professional knows if you are taking any of the following:
Other medical problems- The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of influenza vaccine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
Proper Use of This Medicine
The dose of influenza vaccine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders . The following information includes only the average dose of influenza vaccine.
Side Effects of This Medicine
Side Effects of This Vaccine
In 1976, a number of persons who received the ****œswine flu" influenza vaccine developed Guillain-BarrÃ© syndrome (GBS). Most of these persons were over 25 years of age. Although only 10 out of one million persons receiving the vaccine actually developed GBS, this number was 6 times more than would normally have been expected. Most of the persons who got GBS recovered completely from the paralysis it caused.
It is assumed that the ****œswine flu" virus included in the 1976 vaccine caused the problem, but this has not been proven. Since that time, the ****œswine flu" virus has not been used in influenza vaccines, and there has been no recurrence of GBS associated with influenza vaccinations.
Along with its needed effects, a vaccine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
if any of the following side effects occur:
Other side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects generally do not last for more than 1 or 2 days. However, check with your doctor if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome:
Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your doctor.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT