General

Taking the Flu Vaccine In The Time Of COVID-19

What is the flu vaccine?

The flu vaccine is a 6 monthly to yearly vaccine to prime the body to fight off the strains of influenza virus predicted to be prevalent during the winter months of the northern and southern hemispheres. Typically a flu vaccine will contain either 3 (trivalent) or 4 (quadrivalent) strains of the influenza virus. 

Why take the flu vaccine ?

Some might wonder, “ isn’t flu just a runny nose?”

While runny nose is a symptom of influenza, influenza is much more than that. 

Influenza symptoms include high fever, sore throat, body aches and coughing. Symptoms are usually more severe than the common cold, and infections may progress to life threatening complications such as pneumonia

I’ve had the flu vaccine but it didn’t work, I was still down with the cold.

The influenza vaccine would  not be able to protect you from all the causes of the common cold. Common cold symptoms can be caused by a variety of viruses, such as rhinovirus, coronavirus and adenovirus.

However, the influenza vaccine can reduce the chance of you coming down with an influenza infection and the complications an infection brings.

Who should take the flu vaccine?

Everyone above the age of 6 months should be vaccinated at least yearly, even if healthy. Most healthy adults will not suffer complications from an influenza vaccination but we are still recommended to take it so we protect those who are vulnerable around us.

Those in the vulnerable groups should be strongly encouraged to get vaccinated. These groups of people have a higher chance of developing complications from an influenza infection.

They include:

  • The elderly (aged 65 years and above)
  • People with low immunity (e.g. under cancer treatment or have certain diseases like HIV)
  • Children aged 5 years and below
  • Pregnant ladies

Why take the flu vaccine in a time of COVID-19?

Influenza vaccines do not protect you against COVID-19, however it doesn’t mean it is not useful now. Influenza has not gone away just because the world is focused on COVID-19 now. It is still important to reduce the spread of influenza to protect those around us. Reducing influenza spread also helps to relieve the strain placed on our healthcare system.

Side effects of the flu vaccine are usually mild and tolerable such as pain and swelling at the site of injection and mild fevers

Get vaccinated from the influenza : https://minmed.sg/vaccinations/

For more information on the Flu Vaccine, visit Health Hub

Dr Jiayi Wong

M.B.B.S (Singapore) Bachelor of Medicine | Bachelor of Surgery