It’s Flu Season – Things to Know About the Flu Vaccine

What You Don’t Know About the Flu Vaccine Can Hurt You

Many people don’t realize the flu vaccine is different every year. Each year, scientists select the flu strains that will be covered by the upcoming flu season’s vaccine.

Some years, the experts’ predictions of which strains will be most prevalent are better than others. For example, the flu vaccine administered in the United States for the 2014-2015 season was only about 20 percent effective in preventing the flu. This is contrasted with the 2012-2013 season when the vaccine had a 56 percent success rate. With the 2015-2016 flu season now upon us, it is important for those individuals considering vaccination to understand the risks associated with administration of the flu vaccine.

The 2015-2016 Flu Vaccine

The flu vaccine being distributed in the United States this season is intended to protect against three specific strains of the virus. It also protects against a fourth strain as well. The covered strains are:

  • A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus
  • A/Switzerland/9715293/2013 (H3N2)-like virus
  • B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus
  • B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending the flu vaccine for anyone with a high risk for complications from the flu virus. This includes young children (under age 5), senior citizens, pregnant women, asthmatics, residents of long-term care facilities and individuals with serious health conditions. However, the CDC generally notes that anyone age six months or older without certain risk factors may benefit from getting vaccinated.

The Risks of Flu Vaccine Administration

As with all vaccines, the flu vaccine carries a number of potential risks. This includes not only risks from the vaccine itself but also risks from errors in vaccine administration.

For example, one of the risk factors the CDC indicates may cause doctors not to recommend vaccination is a history of Guillain Barre Syndrome (GBS). GBS is a serious disease that affects thousands of people every year and is widely recognized as being linked to the flu shot. Those who suffer from GBS can experience nerve damage, muscle weakness, and even paralysis. Other potential risks associated with the flu vaccine include allergic reactions, headaches muscle weakness, shoulder injuries related to vaccine administration (SIRVA) and vomiting.

These complications are all possible regardless of the specific vaccines being administered in any given year. This includes vaccines the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved for the 2015-2016 season:

  • Fluarix
  • Flublok
  • Flucelvax
  • FluLaval
  • FluMist
  • Fluvirin
  • Fluzone

This flu season, all individuals who undergo vaccination should watch for potential side effects. If you or a loved one has suffered a vaccine injury, you may be entitled to compensation from the government.

Have You or a Loved One Suffered Side Effects from the Flu Vaccine? Contact Us Today

The Law Offices of Leah V. Durant, PLLC is a national law firm that helps individuals suffering from flu vaccine injuries pursue claims under the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). To find out if you have a claim under the VICP relating to a flu vaccine injury, please call (202) 800-1711 or contact us online today.


Categories: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Flu Vaccine, Guillain-Barre Syndrome (Flu GBS)

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