Avoid the Flu – Current Vaccine Options


Written By: Deeana Saminathan

The flu, known as seasonal influenza, is mainly harmless in the majority of cases, but can potentially cause life-threatening complications in certain individuals. Each year, approximately 5% to 20% of Americans are known to get the flu, and more than 200, 000 are hospitalized due to complications. Vulnerable groups that are most susceptible to complications from the flu are juveniles and seniors (Williams et al, 2014). Over the last year, there have been 1046 hospitalizations and 24 deaths so far due to flu as of December 29, 2018 (Ubelacker, 2019). With that in mind, the flu can be protected through the usage of the flu vaccine.

The flu vaccine comes in two forms: vaccine injection and nasal spray. The flu nasal spray contains a live, however weakened form of the virus. The flu vaccine is comprised of egg protein, preservatives, stabilizers, antibiotics, polysorbate 80, and formaldehyde. The small amount of egg protein is utilized by growing viruses inside fertilized chicken eggs. Preservative thimerosal is added to multidose vaccine vials and thimerosal helps to prevent dangerous bacteria and fungi from getting into the vial with each use. In addition to that, sucrose, sorbitol, and monosodium glutamate are used to maintain the vaccines stability that loses its potency. The neomycin, gentamicin and other antibiotics stop bacteria from vaccine contamination. Polysorbate 80 allows all the ingredients to be evenly distributed and prevents other contents from separating. Lastly, formaldehyde is a gas that is soluble in water and it is utilized in the inactivation of the influenza virus.

Flucelvax is a vaccine that was developed by growing in cultured mammalian cells instead of fertilized chicken eggs. The advantages of the new development are the ability to satisfy demand during egg shortages or when the viral strains are hard to be developed (Casassus, 2013). Flu vaccine helps to produce antibodies that protects you from the flu virus within about two weeks and the protection can help you through the flu season (Williams et al, 2014).

There were prominent advantages of receiving the flu vaccine. The flu vaccination amongst adults helped to reduce the risks of being admitted to the hospital by 37% and the vaccination was effective in prevention of most severe forms of flu as well as risk of being admitted to an ICU by 82%. Adults who are vaccinated were less likely to having severe illness and spent on average 4 fewer days in hospital. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2018).

                                                                            WORKS CITED

Casassus, Barbara. “Egg-Free Flu Vaccines.” Nature Biotechnology, vol. 31, no. 2, Feb. 2013, p. 93.

Healthline. (2019). Flu Shot Ingredients: What’s in It and Is It Safe?. [online] https://www.healthline.com/health/cold-flu/flu-shot-ingredients

“Influenza (Flu).” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 24 Sept. 2018, www.cdc.gov/flu/spotlights/vaccine-reduces-risk-severe-illness.htm.

Rubio, Alberto Pérez, and Jose María Eiros. “Cell Culture-Derived Flu Vaccine: Present and

Future.” Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics, vol. 14, no. 8, 2018, pp. 1874–1882., doi:10.1080/21645515.2018.1460297.

Ubelacker, Sheryl. “Flu Season Surging and Likely Not at Peak in Canada, Doctors Say.”   CTVNews, 8 Jan. 2019, www.ctvnews.ca/health/flu-season-surging-and-likely-not-at-peak-in-canada-doctors-say-1.4245295.

 “What Are the Benefits of Flu Vaccination?” Preventing the Flu, preventingtheflu.org/dwnld/pdfs/Flu vaccine benefits.pdf.

Williams, Lippincott, and Wilkins. “Flu Vaccines.” Patient Education Series: Flu Vaccines, Jan. 2014, p. 39., doi:10.1097/01.NURSE.0000438708.74603.bc.


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