Wednesday, December 8, 2021
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4 misconceptions about the flu

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vaccine Why is the flu shot, not 100% effective?

No vaccine is 100% effective. The flu vaccine often falls victim to a reputation for poor efficacy as the rate varies each year. Why? Influenza is unpredictable and the efficacy of the vaccine varies from year to year and depends mainly on the degree of similarity between the strains in the composition of the vaccine selected by the WHO and the circulating strains. Age (the immune system is less efficient – phenomenon Immunosenescence – efficiency decreases with age), the health status of the vaccinated individual and his immune story also comes into the play. 

Can have the flu because of the vaccine?

No, seasonal influenza vaccines currently available in European countries are inactivated and composed of fragmented virions or surface antigens of the virus. Viruses are not alive so they cannot ‘give’ the flu.

Can pregnant women and children be vaccinated?

It is recommended that pregnant women get the flu shot regardless of the trimester of pregnancy. The objective is to protect them during pregnancy but also the unborn child, in its first months of life. In fact, vaccination of infants cannot be carried out before the age of 6 months.

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Does the flu shot increase the risk of Guillain-Barré syndrome?

According to a review of the literature, influenza vaccination increases the expected frequency of Guillain-Barré syndrome by about 1 additional case per million people vaccinated. On the other hand, influenza itself is considered to be one of the risk factors for Guillain-Barré syndrome with an incidence of around 4 to 7 per 100,000 flu patients. The various studies suggest that the proven risk of Guillain-Barré syndrome resulting from influenza is much greater than the uncertain risk of occurrence of such syndrome due to vaccination.

Responses from an Influenza Medical Affairs Manager within the French Medical Department of Sanofi Pasteur.

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