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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 2:08 am 
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How long does protection last from a flu vax shot, putting aside the need for a new vax if the strains change?

Here in Australia, from memory we have the old mix for this winter, which doesn't have any of the new H3N2 variants and the same good old H1N1.

I have had a shot for the last few years, but is there any point getting a shot of this mix of vax for this winter? Will last year's shot still give protection (against the strains it included)?


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 7:32 am 
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My opinion only from stuff I have read, no medical background ....

For about the reasons you gave, I skipped one this year, but if there had been more flu going around, I probably would have sought one out.

There are those people who don't achieve as high titer levels when vaccinated, and if you were edging closer to one of those groups, then you could consider it a booster.

Elderly people are being given the option of a regular vaccine, or the Fluzone high dose.

http://www.flu.gov/at-risk/seniors/index.html

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Obese people's immunity may diminish faster .... I would consider diabetic/ pre-diabetic folks to be in the same boat ...

http://www.ajc.com/news/study-flu-shots ... 10565.html

Study: Flu shots less effective on obese people

Quote:
New research from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill shows that annual flu shots may be less effective for obese people.

The study, reported online in the International Journal of Obesity, reports for the first time that influenza vaccine antibody levels decline significantly in obese people compared to people who maintain a healthy weight.

"These results suggest that overweight and obese people would be more likely than healthy weight people to experience flu illness following exposure to the flu virus," said Melinda Beck, Ph.D., professor and associate chair of nutrition at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and senior author of the study.

Researchers studied people at a clinic who had been vaccinated in late 2009 with the common flu vaccine for that fall and winter season. Although obese, overweight and healthy weight individuals all developed antibodies to flu viruses within the first month after vaccination, the antibody levels in the blood declined more rapidly in obese and overweight individuals over time, according to the study.

And, when study participants' blood samples were tested in the lab and exposed to a flu virus 12 months after the vaccination, about 75 percent of people with a healthy weight still retained an infection-fighting protein. But, only about 25 percent of obese patients' cells responded by producing the protein, researchers said in a press release.

"The findings also suggest overweight and obese people are more likely to become sicker and have more complications," added Heather Paich, a doctoral student in Beck's lab.


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Another thing you could consider is to get a pneumonia vaccine if you have never had one. You might decide to pass on the flu vaccine this year, but increase your odds of avoiding pneumonia (although I don't know whether or not it offers any benefit to counter Staphylococcus aureus)

I also might have gotten a redundant one this year if I was going to be in more contact with elderly people, pregnant women, infants, severely asthmatic people, medically frail people, etc. Or ask for the FluMist instead of an injection this time around.

That's my 2-cents worth.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2012 4:34 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 19, 2009 10:42 am
Posts: 44605
Location: Pittsburgh, PA USA
Dingo wrote:
How long does protection last from a flu vax shot, putting aside the need for a new vax if the strains change?

Here in Australia, from memory we have the old mix for this winter, which doesn't have any of the new H3N2 variants and the same good old H1N1.

I have had a shot for the last few years, but is there any point getting a shot of this mix of vax for this winter? Will last year's shot still give protection (against the strains it included)?

The seasonal H3N2 currenty in circualtion is largely Victoria/361/2011-like or Brisbane/299/2011 and both are distinct from the Perth/16/2009, which is the target for the 2012 vaccine for the southern hemisphere.

Vaccine selection continues to trail influenza evolution, so even though both 2011 prototypes are from Austrailia, neither is in the 2012 vaccine target, which uses an obsolete 2009 target.

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