Preparing yourself for vaccination

You and your family member’s flu vaccination appointments are scheduled to occur soon. Several questions may come to mind as you approach your appointment date:

- Is the vaccination effective?

The flu vaccine is the best way to prevent the influenza infection. However, it does not protect against colds or bacterial infections. In addition, there are several strains of the virus, so it is possible to catch the flu even if you were vaccinated, because the strains contained in the vaccine may be different from those in circulation. The expected protection is therefore not 100%, but the vaccine is considered an effective method of prevention.

- Is the vaccine safe?

Yes. The vaccine is made from inactivated or attenuated virus. It cannot give you the flu. It should be noted, however, that pregnant women should receive the inactivated virus version.

- My child is afraid of vaccines. How can I help them?

The answer differs depending on the child’s age. If the child is very young, the key is contact with the parent during the injection. It is also suggested to distract the child: singing or showing them colourful pictures are some suggestions.

If the child is older, explaining why the vaccination is important and emphasizing that the discomfort that may occur after the injection is short-lived.

- What can I do if I have pain or a fever after the injection?

Cold compresses can be applied to the injection site. Analgesics can also be given. Consult your pharmacist for the recommended products and dosages to be administered.

- I have a cold right now; can I get the vaccine anyway?

If you have a cold, you can get the flu shot without any problem. On the other hand, if you have a fever or something more serious than a cold, it would be better to postpone your vaccination date.

- How long after the injection does it take for the vaccine to become fully effective?

It takes about 2 weeks before the vaccine reaches full effectiveness. For this reason, it is best to be vaccinated early in the fall so that the vaccine is effective at the beginning of the influenza activity. The vaccine’s protection lasts about 6 months. This is why an annual vaccination is necessary.

- Getting a pneumococcal vaccine was recommended to me. Can I get it on the same day as the flu vaccine?

Yes, without any problem. These 2 vaccines are often given the same day. It should be noted that the pneumococcal vaccine does not have to be given every year.

- I am pregnant (or breastfeeding); can I get the vaccine safely?

It is strongly recommended to get vaccinated if you are pregnant, regardless of the stage of pregnancy, or if you have young children at home.  

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