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Rockford Health System

How Long for Flu Vaccine to Work: Everything You Need to Know

6 min read
how long for flu vaccine to work

It’s that time of the year again. The leaves are changing color, the air is getting cooler, and adding pumpkin spice to everything is starting to appear. It can only mean one thing: flu season is coming! Every year, millions of people get flu infections, and many are vaccinated. But you may wonder, ‘how long for flu vaccine to work?’ This blog post will discuss everything you need to know about the flu vaccine!


What is the flu vaccine?

Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory virus that infects millions of individuals each year. It’s crucial to know what to expect when flu season approaches in the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Flu vaccinations are created every year to defend against the most frequent types. The best approach to prevent becoming sick with the flu is to get a seasonal flu vaccination.

Flu vaccine during the COVID-19 season

While the pandemic is still ongoing, it is essential to get vaccinated against the flu infection because:flu vaccine facts

  • While fewer people developed natural immunity to the flu during the COVID-19 pandemic, more people are expected to catch it this winter.
  • According to studies, if you catch the flu and COVID-19 at the same time, you’re more likely to become critically ill.
  • Getting the flu and COVID-19 vaccines will protect you and the people around you from both of these dangerous infections.

It’s okay to get the flu vaccination if you’ve had COVID-19. It will continue to be useful in preventing flu.

How does it work?

The seasonal flu vaccine is developed many months in advance of flu season. The viruses used in the vaccine were chosen after rigorous research and observation into which strains will be most prevalent throughout the next season.

There are now many preparations for the contents of your flu vaccines. A live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) uses weakened flu vaccine viruses. The recombinant influenza vaccine does not use egg-grown flu vaccine virus and does not use chicken eggs in the production process. There are also seasonal flu vaccines called inactivated ones made with flu vaccine viruses that have been killed.

Influenza A and influenza B are the two kinds of influenza viruses that are protected by seasonal flu vaccinations. They might be trivalent or quadrivalent as well.

The trivalent vaccine protects three flu viruses: two influenza A viruses and one influenza B virus. The quadrivalent vaccine protects against the same three viruses as the trivalent vaccine, plus influenza B.

When to get the flu shot?

Several private firms make the flu vaccine, which normally begins shipping to healthcare professionals in August. However, there is some evidence that receiving your immunization this early may not be beneficial.

getting flu vaccineAccording to a 2017 study from the National Institute of Health (NIH), maximal protection is established quickly after vaccination and diminishes with each passing month. As a result, getting your flu vaccine in August may make you more susceptible to illness later in the flu season, around February or March.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) then recommends obtaining the flu vaccination as soon as influenza activity in your neighborhood begins to increase, ideally by the end of October.

Don’t worry if you don’t get your immunization right away. Even if you are vaccinated late, you can still have enough protection since influenza can circulate within your community through March or even later.

How long does it take for the vaccine to be effective?

When does the flu vaccine start working? It takes two weeks for your body to create antibodies that protect you after receiving a flu vaccine. It’s crucial to remember that you’re still susceptible to becoming sick with the flu throughout this time.

How long for flu vaccine to work? You should be particularly cautious at this time to:

  • maintain a healthy lifestyle
  • If at all possible, avoid touching your nose or mouth.
  • If the flu is spreading in your area, stay away from crowds.

These measures are much more critical when COVID-19 is still present. Because the flu and other respiratory diseases are contagious, protecting yourself and others is critical.



How long does the flu shot last?

The flu immunity of your body deteriorates with time. This is true whether you’ve gotten a flu shot or have been infected with the flu.

Viruses that cause influenza are also continually evolving. As a result, a flu vaccine from the previous season may not protect you throughout the current flu season.

In general, getting the seasonal influenza vaccination (via intramuscular injection or nasal spray vaccine) should keep you safe for the length of the current flu season. To get the most protection against influenza viruses, you’ll need to get a seasonal influenza vaccination every year.

Am I going to experience vaccine side effects?

Many people claim that they were infected by the flu virus once they were vaccinated. But the truth is, the flu vaccine can not give you flu. The seasonal flu vaccination is created using an inactivated virus, which means you can’t get the flu from it. However, you may encounter a number of negative effects after taking it.

flu symptoms post vaccinationThe flu shot’s side effects are usually minor and generally last a few days. The following are possible flu vaccination adverse effects:

  • At the injection site, there may be redness, swelling, or pain.
  • Fever of a mild intensity
  • general aches and pains

Who should and shouldn’t get the flu vaccine?

Every year, everyone over 6 months should have a flu vaccination. Whether they get a flu shot or a nasal spray flu vaccine, vaccination is particularly necessary for persons who are at a higher risk of flu-related complications.

This includes the following:

  • people in their fifties
  • someone suffering from a long-term illness
  • Immune-compromised individuals
  • between the ages of 6 months and five years
  • people under the age of 18 who are taking aspirin
  • Pregnant women or have just given birth, as well as women who have given birth within the last two weeks
  • individuals with a BMI of 40 or above
  • Native Alaskans or American Indians
  • workers in the medical field
  • anybody who works or lives in a nursing home or other long-term care institution
  • carers for any of the aforementioned

The influenza vaccination should not be given to children under six months. All family members or caregivers should be immunized to protect these youngsters from possible viral exposure.

This is known as herd immunity because it protects people who cannot receive the vaccination. Furthermore, if you’re presently unwell with an acute disease, you may need to wait until you feel better before getting the vaccination.

Before getting vaccinated, tell your doctor if you’ve ever had:

  • an adverse response to the flu vaccination in the past
  • vaccine-related complications
  • Guillain-BarrĂ© syndrome is a neurological condition that affects people.

These indicators may suggest that you should not get the flu vaccine. However, you should consult with your doctor to see what they prescribe.

A modest quantity of egg protein is found in several flu vaccines. If you have a history of egg allergies, talk with your doctor about receiving the flu shot.

Our Takeaway

Every year, influenza viruses create seasonal epidemics of respiratory disease, and the continuing COVID-19 pandemic has made this year extremely hazardous. While some people may only have a minor sickness, others (particularly those in high-risk groups) may develop a more serious infection requiring hospitalization.

The greatest approach to reduce your risk of becoming sick with the flu is to receive a flu vaccine every year. Furthermore, when more people take the flu vaccination, the virus has a harder time spreading across the population. Every autumn, before influenza virus activity in your region begins to build up, you should get your yearly flu shots.


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