In Germany, several thousand people die each year from the flu. If the course is severe, sufferers may have pneumonia, which can lead to death. Above all, older people over 60, pregnant women, people with previous illnesses or residents of elderly and nursing homes have a higher risk of getting sick. For these people, the Standing Vaccination Committee (STIKO) of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) recommends annual flu shots, which should take place in October or November. But even at the beginning of the flu season in January, it is still advisable to get vaccinated. The flu vaccine provides adequate protection for the entire flu season. Since influenza viruses change very quickly, an annual update is recommended. The more people are vaccinated, the less likely it is that the flu virus will spread.
Influenza vaccination: These vaccine reactions occur
Influenza vaccination is considered well tolerated. Various studies have not found an increase in the number of severe reactions due to vaccination. However, stimulation of the body’s own defenses after vaccination can lead to vaccine reactions. Symptoms include:
- Redness or swelling at the injection site
- Pain in the vaccinated arm
- Cold symptoms such as fever, chills or sweating, tiredness, headache, muscle or muscle aches
- People who have been vaccinated with a live, weakened influenza virus vaccine may experience a stuffy or runny nose.
These vaccine reactions subside on their own after a day or two and are generally harmless. Immediate allergic reactions occur only in very rare cases.
Influenza vaccination: allergy sufferers must know
Anyone with a medically diagnosed chicken protein allergy should only be vaccinated in an environment where medical supervision and prompt treatment is possible, or should instead receive a protein-free cell culture flu vaccine. Chicken specifically formulated for allergy sufferers.