How long does the flu shot last?

May 19, 2023

Feeling sniffly? It might be time to get a flu shot. 
Getting vaccinated against the flu is very important. In fact, it helped prevent millions of cases of influenza worldwide during the last flu season before the pandemic alone. With flu season well and truly here, it's a good idea to keep up-to-date with the influenza vaccine, considering how it can help both you and your community.
With millions of people affected every year by the flu, the most effective way to stay healthy and reduce the risk of getting the flu and many of its potential complications is by getting the flu shot.
Since the first development of the influenza vaccine in 1938, the vaccine has become an indispensable tool in preventing the spread of the influenza virus and reducing the number of people who become seriously ill or die from the virus. Today, the influenza vaccine is recommended for everyone over the age of six months and is widely available at pharmacies, clinics and doctors' offices around the world.
Let's face it, though, keeping up with all the things we need to do for our health can be tough. Luckily, with the MedAdvisor app, you can easily book your yearly flu shot without any hassle. The app saves you time and makes it easier for you to stay on top of your health to-do list for you and the family.

But how does the flu shot work, exactly?

The flu shot works by introducing a deactivated or weakened form of the influenza virus to the body. This helps the immune system recognise a specific protein, or antigen, on the surface of the virus and produce antibodies to fight against it. If the body is later exposed to the actual influenza virus, the antibodies can recognise and attack the virus, preventing infection or reducing the severity of symptoms.
There are two main types of flu vaccines:

  1. Injectable: includes inactivated influenza vaccines (IIV) and recombinant influenza vaccines (RIV).
  2. Nasal: also known as (LAIV: live attenuated influenza vaccine), the spray contains live (weakened) viruses.

From the vaccine, there are several common side effects. These include:

  • Drowsiness or fatigue
  • Muscle aches
  • Pain, redness, and swelling at the injection site
  • A temporary injection-site lump
  • Mild fever

How effective is the flu shot, and is it really necessary?

How effective is the flu shot? Well, first and foremost, before we get into the numbers, the overall effectiveness of the flu vaccine does depend on the match between the virus and the vaccine, as well as other factors like your age and immunity. 

Studies have shown that the risk of getting the flu is halved by getting the vaccine. 

"What these numbers mean is that for every 1000 people, 23 would get flu without a vaccine programme. However, with a vaccine programme, the number of people who would get flu reduces to 9 in 1000," explained Dr. David Price, a biostatistician at the University of Melbourne, to ABC's Fact Check.

How long does the flu shot last?

The answer? It varies. Generally speaking, the vaccine lasts for about six months. However, the effectiveness can wane over time, especially if new strains of the flu are discovered. Typically, though, it provides protection for up to six months, and the best protection is usually seen in the first three to four months after getting vaccinated. 
And since the flu virus can mutate and change every year, it's important to get vaccinated annually to ensure continued protection against the most current strains. That's why MedAdvisor has partnered with thousands of Australian pharmacies to make it easy for you to book your flu shot via the app. Plus, getting vaccinated can prevent medical visits, hospitalisations, and even deaths from the flu!

Do I really need a flu shot every year?

Yes! Part of the reason we need to get the influenza shot every year is that it can only protect you for the duration of one flu season (approximately six months). Getting a yearly flu shot can ensure protection against the most current strains of the virus, as the flu virus mutates and changes each year. 
But don't worry, even if you don't get the flu shot every single year, it's still important to get it when you can. Not only does it protect you from getting sick, but it also helps protect those in our communities who might be more vulnerable to the flu.
If you are still not convinced, a US-based government study shows that during the 2019-2020 flu season, flu vaccination prevented an estimated 3.7 million influenza-associated medical visits, 105,000 influenza-associated hospitalisations, and 6,300 influenza-associated deaths.

Now as COVID has evolved into an endemic, questions around the COVID vaccination and the importance of the flu vaccination have also come up over the last few years. Luckily, though, throughout the pandemic, studies have indicated that it is safe to get both a flu vaccine and a COVID-19 vaccine. In fact, it’s OK to get both co-administered during the same visit however, it’s always best to discuss with your pharmacy and/or doctor before doing so.

Ok, but when should I get the flu shot?

Aim to get it 2-3 weeks before the flu season begins to ensure maximum protection during peak flu season. As it can take up to two weeks for the vaccine to become effective, it is important to book it in advance. To ensure protection for the peak flu season, book your vaccine now. Note that the highest level of protection occurs in the first three to four months after the vaccination.

And while everyone aged six months and older is recommended to get vaccinated, some people may need to wait due to illness or medical conditions. It's always best to talk to your healthcare provider for personalised advice.
So go ahead and get vaccinated – it'll protect you from those pesky flu symptoms like fever, cough, and body aches. It'll also help protect those around you and reduce the spread of the flu. And let's be honest; it'll save you some money on medical treatment too!

Who should get a flu shot?

If you are reading this, you are probably wondering if you should also get a flu shot too. 

And yes, healthy adults are also recommended to get the vaccine! Official government agencies and specialists worldwide recommend that everyone aged six months and older should receive a flu vaccine every year, with few exceptions. This universal recommendation has been in place since the 2010-2011 flu season. Vaccination is, of course, especially important for people at higher risk of influenza or people directly involved with them.
So, should you get the flu shot? Absolutely! It's a small inconvenience that can make a big difference in your health, the health of your loved ones as well as the broader community. 
If you're ready to get vaccinated, you can book your flu shot at your local pharmacy or doctor's office with MedAdvisor. It's easy! You can now get your flu vaccination at the pharmacy by a pharmacist or nurse. You don't need a prescription from the doctor, and the appointment only takes a few minutes!

I have been with MedAdvisor since it started and without it life would be a lot harder, love being reminded when I need new scripts and meds, thank you," writes app user Pete, a MedAdvisor user.

Create your MedAdvisor account here today. 

Disclaimer: MedAdvisor would like to remind our readers that the information provided in this blog is for educational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Please consult with your healthcare provider for personalized information and guidance related to your specific health concerns.

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