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FAQs: Are There Different Types of Flu Vaccines?

FFF FAQ
Posted on February 23, 2021

As we hear about several COVID-19 vaccinations becoming available from different companies, it has brought to light more questions about flu vaccines. In this post, we’ll answer common questions about the flu shot from our Facebook and Twitter communities.

Are there different types of flu vaccines?

Yes, there are different kinds of flu vaccines approved by the FDA.  Flu vaccines are made with different production technologies and some are approved for different age groups. Each vaccine must go through in-depth research and clinical trials to ensure it meets strict safety and effectiveness requirements. Vaccine technology may be egg-based, cell-based or recombinant (genetically engineered).

What is trivalent and quadrivalent flu shot?

A trivalent vaccine protects against three different influenza viruses, while a quadrivalent vaccine protects against four different flu viruses. Trivalent vaccines protect against two types of influenza A and one type of influenza B. Right now, the only trivalent flu vaccine available is for adults age 65+. Quadrivalent vaccines protect against two types of influenza A and two types of B. The most used vaccine today is the quadrivalent.

Different vaccines are approved for different age groups. There is no preference between the different types of flu vaccines. The most important thing is to get a flu vaccination every year. Speak with your trusted healthcare professional if you have questions about which vaccine is right for you.

What kind of vaccine is the flu shot? Can the flu vaccine make flu worse?

The flu vaccine contains dead (inactivated) or weakened (attenuated) viruses, or no flu virus at all. The vaccine works by causing your body to create antibodies, basically teaching your body how to fight off the flu. To cause actual infection, viruses need to reproduce, or make copies of themselves. Flu vaccines, no matter how they are made, do not contain viruses that can reproduce and make you sick with the flu. If you experience mild side effects following vaccination such as muscle aches or fatigue, that’s a sign that your body is building up an immune response, which is what it’s supposed to do!

 

Check out our FAQs on the flu vaccine for more info!

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