Flu vaccines are the vaccines that protect against seasonal flu infections caused by Influenza viruses. New flu vaccines are developed twice a year as flu viruses undergo changes rapidly.
Vaccines given yearly is the best way to protect children from flu and its potentially serious complications. Seasonal flu spreads rapidly through droplet infections and can lead to serioud complications like bacterial pneumonia, ear and sinus infections, dehydration among others and can worsen long tern medical conditions like congestive cardiac failure, asthma and diabetes.
Vaccines should ideally be given before the onset of the flu season. In India flu vaccines are mostly given in April-May before the starting of the school and onset of monsoons. In southern parts which have a temperate climate, the best time is September-October.
Flu vaccines can be administered to all the children above the age of 6 months. Initial dosage may be a single or double dose given at an interval of 1 month for children less than 8 years and subsequent yearly vaccinations.
Flu vaccination reduces the risk of flu illness and hospitalisation by decreasing the severity of the illness. It also helps to prevent the spread of the flu virus to family members specially elderly population.
In India, Flu vaccine is given in mostly injectable form and can cause minor side-effects like soreness and redness at the injection site, mild headache, fever, nausea.
So now we come to the question of what is the role of flu vaccine during covid pandemic. The symptoms related to Covid and seasonal flu are comparatively similar. Flu vaccine prevents seasonal flu, reduce the panic and testing associated with Covid like symptoms, prevent complications of Flu and in turn reducing the need of hospitalisation. Although Flu vaccination doesn’t prevent Covid but it definitely will help in differentiation of Covid vs Seasonal flu and help in identification of Covid cases.