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Flu Vaccination


Where? JFC Naples Base - Parco Leonardo (as seen below in the picture)




 

When? 8 December 2020 

What to bring? “DHA 116 Influenza Screening” form.

FLU VACCINE

Although sometimes incorrectly regarded as just another bad cold, flu kills tens of thousands of people each year, with the very young, the elderly and those with underlying conditions the most vulnerable. When coupled with the effects of COVID-19, public health experts say it’s more important than ever to get a flu shot.

If enough of the population gets vaccinated it could help prevent a nightmare scenario in the coming winter of hospitals stuffed with both COVID-19 patients and those suffering from severe effects of influenza.

The flu vaccine is a safe and effective vaccine. It's offered every year to help protect people at risk of flu and its complications.

The best time to have the flu vaccine is in the autumn before flu starts spreading.

Why get a flu shot?

A flu vaccine is the first and best way to reduce chances of getting the flu and spreading it to others. WHO, CDC recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older receive a flu vaccine every year.

The vaccines either contain inactivated virus, meaning the viruses are no longer infectious, or a particle designed to look like a flu virus to your immune system, so the flu vaccine cannot cause flu.

WHO and CDC recommends everyone 6 months of age and older should receive an annual flu vaccination with rare exceptions.


FLU VACCINE & COVID-19

Flu vaccination is especially important this year because:

  • If you're at higher risk from coronavirus, you're also more at risk of problems from flu

  • If you get flu and coronavirus at the same time, research shows you're more likely to be seriously ill

  • It'll help to reduce pressure on the health care system and social care staff who may be dealing with coronavirus patients

If you've had COVID-19, it's safe to have the flu vaccine. It'll be effective at helping to prevent flu.

Q&A

Q: When should I get my flu shot?

The CDC (USA) has recommended that people “get a flu vaccine by the end of October,” but noted it’s not too late to get one after that because shots “can still be beneficial and vaccination should be offered throughout the flu season.”

Even so, some experts say not to wait too long this year — not only because of COVID-19, but also in case a shortage develops because of overwhelming demand.

Q: What are the reasons I should get a flu shot?

Get a shot because it protects you from catching the flu and spreading it to others, which may help lessen the burden on hospitals and medical staffs.

Other reasons to get a flu shot:

  • While a flu shot won’t prevent COVID-19, getting one could help your doctors differentiate between the diseases if you develop any symptoms — fever, cough, sore throat — they share.

  • Even though flu shots won’t prevent all cases of the flu, getting vaccinated can lessen the severity if you do fall ill.

  • You cannot get influenza from having a flu vaccine.

  • All eligible people, especially essential workers, those with underlying conditions and those at higher risk — including very young children and pregnant women — should seek protection.

  • Children over 6 months old should get vaccinated.

Q: How effective is the flu vaccine? Can I get the flu after I am vaccinated?

The flu vaccine gives the best protection against flu.

Flu vaccines help protect against the main types of flu viruses, although there's still a chance you might get flu.

It’s possible to get sick with flu even if you have been vaccinated (although you won’t know for sure unless you get a flu test). Think of the flu shot as a preventive measure, it helps to reduce the risk of spread, not get rid of the risk altogether.

If you do get flu after vaccination, it's likely to be milder and not last as long.

Having the flu vaccine will also stop you spreading flu to other people who may be more at risk of serious problems from flu.

It can take 10 to 14 days for the flu vaccine to work.

Q: Are there side effects to the vaccine? Or will it give me the flu?

The flu vaccine cannot give you flu.

None of the flu vaccines contains live viruses so they cannot cause flu.

If you are unwell after vaccination, you may have something else. Or you may have caught flu before your vaccination had worked.

Flu vaccines are very safe. Most side effects are mild and only last for a day or so, such as:

  • Slightly raised temperature

  • Muscle aches

  • Sore arm where the needle went in – this is more likely to happen with the vaccine for people aged 65 and over

Try these tips to help reduce any discomfort after the shot:

  • continue to move your arm regularly

  • take a painkiller, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen – some people, including those who are pregnant, should not take ibuprofen unless a doctor recommends it

Q: Does a flu vaccine increase your risk of getting COVID-19?

There is no evidence that getting a flu vaccine increases your risk of getting sick from a coronavirus, like the one that causes COVID-19.

Q: How will the vaccine be recorded in my medical records?

Each patient will be given a card, showing that they have received the flu shot. It has pertinent information on it, such as lot number and location of the shot, which they should be able to produce for entry into their medical records. Keep this card and provide it to your medical system.

Q: Is the vaccine an EU approved vaccine?

The vaccine is a US vaccine being given by US Navy Medics, and signing the screening form accepts that situation. There is no medicolegal reason why it cannot be given in the EU, and the vaccine is safe and approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration.

Who shouldn’t get a flu shot?

Individuals who can’t get the flu shot include:

  • Children younger than 6 months, since they are too young to get a flu shot.

  • Individuals with severe, life-threatening allergies to flu vaccine or any ingredient(s) in the vaccine.

Individuals should talk with their doctor before getting the flu shot if they:

  • Have had a severe allergy to eggs or any of the ingredients in the vaccine.

  • Have had Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS).

  • Are not feeling well, having fewer, cough or any acute upper or lower respiratory track symptoms.

Possible side effects

Like any medical product, vaccines can cause side effects. Side effects of the flu vaccine are generally mild and go away on their own within a few days.

Common side effects from the flu shot include:

  • Soreness, redness, and/or swelling from the shot

  • Headache

  • Fever

  • Nausea

  • Muscle aches

The flu shot, like other injections, can occasionally cause fainting.

Possible reaction at the injection site

The most common side effect of the flu shot is a reaction at the injection site, which is typically on the upper arm. After the shot is given, you may have soreness, redness, warmth, and in some cases, slight swelling. These effects usually last less than two days.

Headache and other aches and pains

After your shot, you might have headaches or some achiness and pain in the muscles throughout your body. This also usually happens on the first day and goes away within two days.

Fever

A fever of 38°C (101°F) or less is a common side effect of the flu shot. A slight fever is considered a mild side effect. It should go away within a day or two.

Dizziness or fainting

You may experience dizziness or fainting with the flu shot. These effects shouldn’t last longer than a day or two. If you tend to get dizzy or faint when getting a shot, be sure to tell your healthcare provider before they give you the flu shot.

Serious side effects are rare with the flu shot, but they can include:

High fever

A fever greater than 38°C (101°F) isn’t common. If you’re concerned about a high fever, call your doctor.

Severe allergic reactions

Rarely, the flu vaccine can cause a severe allergic reaction. Severe allergic reactions usually happen within a few hours of receiving the vaccine. Symptoms include:

  • Hives

  • Swelling

  • Trouble breathing

  • Fast heart rate

  • Dizziness

  • Weakness

If you have any of these symptoms, call your doctor right away.

Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS)

In very rare cases, some people who have received the flu vaccine have experienced Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS). GBS is a neurologic condition that causes weakness and paralysis throughout the body.

Some studies have found a possible small association of injectable flu vaccine with GBS. Overall, these studies estimated the risk for GBS after vaccination as fewer than 1 or 2 cases of GBS per one million people vaccinated. Other studies have not found any association. GBS also, rarely, occurs after flu illness. Even though GBS following flu illness is rare, GBS is more common following flu illness than following flu vaccination.

Flu vaccines have a good safety record. Hundreds of millions have safely received flu vaccines over the past 50 years, and there has been extensive research supporting the safety of flu vaccines.

SYMPTOMS OF FLU?

IF you have symptoms (fever, cough, sneezing and breathing difficulties, Joint and muscle pain)

  • Contact your family doctor by phone; do not go to the GP waiting room or a hospital emergency department

  • Do not come to JFCNP HQ

  • Report on your chain of command and to your SNR, proving the information from the INCSPOTREP

  • Inform JFCNP HQ Occupational Medicine Specialist via e-mail Nicola.olivieri@jfcnp.nato.int providing your phone number. Relevant information will be collected and proper instructions will be given depending on the situation.

Monitor the onset of symptoms (in particular, dry cough, fever, mucous congestion, rhinitis and breathing difficulties) in the 14 days following contact, in particular by measuring body temperature twice a day (morning / evening).


QUESTIONS?

JFCNP Point of contact: Nicola Olivieri JFCNP HQ Occupational Medicine Specialist Nicola.olivieri@jfcnp.nato.int

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