Stories tagged flu shot

Oct
16
2012

Flu shot: A new study shows that flu shots are effective, at best, up to 59 percent of the time. Researchers are encouraging drug companies to develop new and better flu shots for the future.
Flu shot: A new study shows that flu shots are effective, at best, up to 59 percent of the time. Researchers are encouraging drug companies to develop new and better flu shots for the future.Courtesy r Joseph R Schmitt
Hey, I got my flu shot last week. It's been about 10 years now I've been able to get a free flu shot covered by my health insurance plan. And I'm happy to say I've never had the flu in all that time.

That, of course, is all anecdotal evidence. But some researchers at the University of Minnesota have been studying the issue of flu shots and have some new ideas on the matter. Based on their findings, they're encouraging new research to find a "game-changer" new vaccine to make flu shots more effective.

The Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the U released its findings yesterday. And overall, they found that flu shots had, at best, a 59 percent effectiveness rate for adults ages 18 to 64. Effectiveness rates for flu shots for people younger and older than that age group were inconsistent. The nasal-spray vaccine was found to have an efficacy of 83 percent in children ages 6 months to 7 years.

Vaccine manufacturers haven't made any significant changes to flu vaccine formulas for many years, mostly based on the idea that the flu shots were highly effective. But the new report challenges that theory and encourages new research to find different approaches to flu vaccines, with those new approaches aiming to have a higher rate of prevention.

In the meantime, the researchers are still encouraging people to get a flu shot this season. Some protection is better than no protection, they point out. And they also said that their findings showed no reason to believe that flu shots cause any harm to people who receive them.

What do you think? Are you getting a flu shot this year? Share your thoughts here with other Science Buzz readers.

Sep
21
2007

This won't hurt, really: The FDA recently okayed even younger kids, those ages 2 to 4, to be eliglble for receiving their annual flu shot in a new nasal mist form.
This won't hurt, really: The FDA recently okayed even younger kids, those ages 2 to 4, to be eliglble for receiving their annual flu shot in a new nasal mist form.
If you’re young and squeamish about shots, there’s good news for you this year on the flu shot front.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has okayed the use of a flu shot nasal spray product – FluMist – for treating kids ages 2 to 4. The product has been on the market for a few years for people ages 5-49 who are in good health and not pregnant.

Obviously, this is pretty significant news since the biggest criers during the process of receiving a flu shot are between the ages of 2 to 4. In recent testing, those receiving the nasal flu shot had a 92-percent reduction in the rate of catching the flu than those who didn’t.

Furthermore, the nasal spray will work for people who have minor illnesses. But, obviously, those suffering conditions with nasal congestion might not get the full benefits of the nasal spray.

Here are the side effects to watch out for after application on children: runny nose, headache, wheezing, vomiting muscle aches and fever. For adults, the side effects include: runny nose, headache, sore throat and cough.

The calendar is quickly turning to the best time to get your flu shot as a nasal blast or a vaccine. October and November are the best times of the year. The Center for Disease Control suggests that children receiving a flu shot for the first time receive a nasal application in October. They’ll also need a second dose one month later.

If you’ve had flu shots in the past, it’s okay to receive your flu dosage this year nasally if you meet other qualifying criteria.

Of course, most people don’t bother to be vaccinated against the flu most years. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that a record amount of doses – 130 million – are available this year, but as past practices show, only a fraction of them will be used.

Only about one in five babies who should receive a flu shot get one, the report said, and nationwide last year, about 36,000 people died from health complications from getting the flu.