Get your shot before flu season
Along with the cold winter wind, the flu season has arrived. You may remember that last year’s flu season was particularly bad, sweeping through Asia at alarming rates. The flu isn’t just a little cold – it’s a far more serious illness. Make sure you are protected this year by getting your flu shot. Helen Zhang, director of pharmacy
at United Family Healthcare (UFH) pharmacist answers your questions about the vaccine.
1. Why is getting a flu shot recommended?
Getting vaccinated is a very effective way to prevent the flu. Researchers all over the world and long-term vaccination programs have demonstrated that vaccines significantly lower your risk of contracting the flu and suffering from influenzarelated complications. If you get vaccinated, you are less likely to spread the flu to others. Immunity develops two weeks after inoculation and usually lasts for a year.
2. If I have already been vaccinated, does that mean I am completely safe from the flu?
In general, the flu vaccine can protect the majority of people from contracting the flu. However, you may not be 100 percent safe. Nevertheless, if you do still get the flu after being vaccinated, you will have a less severe flu. It’s also important to note that flu vaccines do not protect you from other viruses like the viruses which could cause the common cold, for example.
3. Can everyone get the flu vaccine?
If you are severely allergic to eggs (which are used to make the vaccine) or have had a severe allergic reaction to the flu vaccine in the past, you should not get the flu vaccine. If you have a high fever or acute illness on the day you’re scheduled to get the shot, you should postpone vaccination until you are better.
4. Can I get a flu shot if I’m pregnant or still breast feeding?
Flu shots are safe for children and pregnant women. Flu shots can prevent complications from the flu and they are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in the US and China, even for pregnant women. If you have any questions or concerns, please see your doctor before getting vaccinated.
5. What’s the difference between imported and locally produced vaccines?
Whether they’re imported or manufactured in China, the vaccines that we use at Beijing United Family Hospital and Clinics (BJU) are always highly controlled. Like foreign-produced vaccines, the Chinese-produced flu vaccine protects against flu strains and are recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), which means that their composition will be the same. Imported and domestic vaccines are both effective and safe. The main differences may be the brand, origin, price, and their approved indication or dosage in China.
6. I want to get a flu shot. What else do I need to know?
Flu shots are available at the main BJU hospital in Lido, Chaoyang district, Beijing and at most UFH clinics around the city. The best time to get vaccinated is at the end of October and November, but getting vaccinated in December or later still provides effective protection. It’s necessary for children under the age of two to make an appointment with their doctor before they get vaccinated.