04:18pm Saturday 23 September 2017

Health benefits from influenza vaccination

 

Illustration photo, colourbox.com

The most effective preventive measure to avoid influenza is vaccination. The influenza vaccine should preferably be taken during September to November, and full protection is achieved after one to two weeks.

This year’s influenza vaccine has now been distributed to the health service throughout the country. If you belong to one of the risk groups and would like this year’s vaccine, please consult your doctor. Some municipalities have their own immunisation services.

The health effects of vaccination are especially beneficial for people over 65 years of age, pregnant women after week 12 of pregnancy and people with a known medical risk of disease, regardless of age. Influenza can cause poor general health, pneumonia and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease that will require hospitalisation. Although the influenza vaccine may not provide complete protection against infection for everyone, the disease will be more short-lived and milder after vaccination.

Risk groups that are recommended to be vaccinated include:

  • People who are 65 years or older
  • Residents in sheltered accommodation and nursing homes
  • Pregnant women in their 2nd and 3rd trimester. 
  • Children and adults with: 
    • diabetes mellitus, type 1 and type 2 
    • chronic respiratory diseases
    • chronic cardiovascular diseases 
    • chronic liver failure 
    • chronic renal failure 
    • chronic neurological disease or injury 
    • weakened immune systems
    • obesity (BMI over 40)

Vaccination for health workers with regular patient contact is also recommended. They may be a significant source of infection for patients if they are also infected.

For the 2011/2012 season, the trivalent seasonal influenza vaccine is also recommended for pig farmers and other people who have regular contact with live pigs. This is to protect pig handlers from influenza infection and to prevent the development of virus mutations in swine herds.

About the influenza vaccine

  • Influenza viruses mutate constantly. To achieve the best possible protection, the vaccine is altered every year. The effect of the vaccine declines over time so we recommend that the vaccine is taken annually.
  • The influenza vaccine does not cause influenza.
  • The influenza vaccine has been used for many years and gives generally few side effects. As with other vaccines, it can give a slight malaise and fever, and tenderness at the injection site.

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