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Facts About Flu Vaccines in the Philippines

Facts About Flu Vaccines in the Philippines

Influenza, or the “flu,” is a contagious infection that attacks the respiratory system, mainly the nose, throat, and lungs. Commonly known locally as trangkaso, the flu can cause sudden fever, cough, runny nose, headache, and muscle and joint pain. The flu is a preventable disease: A flu vaccine is available for both adults and children.

What Are the Types of Flu Vaccine Available?

There are three types of influenza. Type A, B, and C. The first two types, A and B, are fatal, while influenza C is the type we commonly contract, which lasts for a few days. It was only in 1938 that a vaccine for the flu was developed.

Today, different types of flu vaccines are made more easily accessible. You can get vaccinated at hospitals, clinics, and barangay health centers. People are highly encouraged to get the flu vaccine, most especially the very young, elderly, and immunocompromised.

Other types of flu vaccine available in the Philippines:

  • Quadrivalent vaccine. It protects people from two types of influenza and two types of type B influenza.
  • Jet injector. This is given to people ages 18 to 64.
  • High-dose vaccine. This type of flu vaccine available in the Philippines is given to people over 65 years old, and its dose is four times more potent than the regular vaccine.
  • Adjuvanted vaccine. This provides great protection from the flu for people 65 years old and up.
  • Cell-based vaccine. This vaccine is made using dead viruses grown in the cells of mammals.
  • Recombinant vaccine. This virus needed for the vaccine is ‘grown’ through a technical process, and not in eggs.
  • Intradermal vaccine. This type of flu vaccine available in the Philippines is directly injected into the skin.

Vaccines work by taking a weaker form of the disease, and allowing the body’s immune system to build a strong defense against it. It usually takes more than one dose, and vaccines only work on the strains that it was developed from.

The inactivated flu vaccines, on the other hand, are ones that are made from dead influenza viruses. Live attenuated flu vaccines come in the form of a spray that enters the body system through the nasal passage.

For your family’s security, have yourself and other members vaccinated. Consult your doctor for the best approach.

Who Should Get a Flu Vaccine?

Flu vaccines can be given to both children and adults. But it is commonly administered to children within the first years of their lives as part of their vaccination program. Babies that are 6 months or older can safely be vaccinated.

There are different kinds of flu vaccines to address the different strains of virus. Vaccines may change every year, so it is best to consult your doctor. Doctors recommend adults to have their flu shot every year.

How Much Does a Flu Shot Cost?

Given that there are different kinds of flu vaccines available in the Philippines, such as inactivated and live attenuated influenza vaccines, a single shot may cost anywhere from PHP600 to PHP1,500. The two examples given are the most common kinds of influenza vaccines that are used around the world.

When Is the Best Time to Get Vaccinated?

Influenza kicks in during cold seasons. In the Philippines, the peak season for flu is between October to January. Therefore, make an appointment for a flu shot before this time. Generally, vaccines are fully effective after about 2 weeks. This is because it takes some time for the immune system to develop antibodies against the virus.

Aside from vaccination, here’s how we can prevent the flu:

  • Regular handwashing. Thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds.
  • Practice good respiratory hygiene. Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. If using tissues, dispose of them properly.
  • Don’t touch any part of your face when in high-risk areas like hospitals and crowds.

Flu Vaccines Don’t Promise Lifetime Immunity

Though flu vaccines do work, it’s important to know that they can’t provide immunity for life. This is because there are many strains and subtypes of the influenza virus which are constantly evolving and emerging. Generally, health experts can spot which strains are trending during a certain season, but this does not guarantee full coverage.

The vaccine depends on the immune system’s production of antibodies. In essence, vaccines are inactive viruses or proteins that help the body create antibodies that fight off the actual virus if you are exposed to it in the future.

Ideally, we should have our yearly flu shot. This is especially important for those who are at high-risk for influenza, such as pregnant women, children, or those who are living with chronic illnesses. This is because they are more prone to viruses and infections.

The flu vaccine promotes optimal health and immunity.

Key Takeaways

As with any infectious diseases, it’s important to remember that prevention is better than cure. And taking even the simplest, necessary precautions can help boost and ensure lung health.

Utilize the flu vaccine, and consult your doctor regarding which is best for your and your children.

In addition to getting vaccinated, to further boost your immunity against diseases, you may adopt healthier habits. Eat a balanced diet, drink at least eight glasses of water a day, exercise regularly , and as much as possible, get at least eight hours of sleep.

Learn more about influenza (flu), here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

The Philippines in the World of the Influenza Pandemic of 1918-1919, https://www.jstor.org/stable/42634010?seq=1#metadata_info_tab_contents, Accessed August 27, 2020

Flu – Symptoms and Causes, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/flu/symptoms-causes/syc-20351719, Accessed August 27, 2020

Key Facts About Influenza, https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/keyfacts.htm, Accessed Sept 8, 2021

Understanding Influenza Viruses, https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/viruses/index.htm, Accessed Sept. 8, 2021

Different Types of Flu Vaccines, https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/different-flu-vaccines.htm, Accessed August 27, 2020

Types of Seasonal Influenza Vaccine, http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/communicable-diseases/influenza/vaccination/types-of-seasonal-influenza-vaccine, Accessed August 27, 2020

Flu Shot: Your Best Bet for Avoiding Influenza, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/flu/in-depth/flu-shots/art-20048000, Accessed August 27, 2020

Types of Influenza Viruses https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/viruses/types.htm, Accessed April 12, 2021

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Written by Karla Pascua Updated Sep 08
Fact Checked by Cesar Beltran