Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Flu jabs

To have a jab or not to have a jab?   Every Winter opinion seems to be divided amongst my friends as to whether or not it is advantageous.

I always have one, being of the opinion that any cover against flu is better than no cover at all, and so far, touch wood, I have managed to escape the dreaded lurgy.  Having flu at my age is always bad but when you live alone, as I do, it is much worse. 

Now I see in today's Times that next Winter there will be two different jabs.   One, a gold standard jab - Quadrivalent - will be given to anyone between the ages of 18 and 64 who is in an 'at risk' group - for example pregnant women.   This vaccine, as its name suggests, protects against four different strains of flu.

If, like me, you are over 64 then you will only be offered the trivalent jab, which protects against just three of the strains.

I presume this is, as usual, a matter of money.   But as there are over 8000 deaths from flu each year it does rather beg the question of how old on average are those eight thousand people?


29 comments:

donna baker said...

Across the pond, I am hearing of many children and fairly young adults. My flu shot was supposed to be a stronger version for those over 65. I have had a virus, but know it wasn't the flu. My husband says there was a spike in Parkinson's after the last big flu epidemic and thinks it will spike again after this one.

Terra said...

That is an odd age range cut off for future flu vaccinations; I wonder if there is a medical reason or just financial. My being a person over 65, my thought is is this a form of triage, kill the old? I hope not!

Amanda said...

In the US, the Center for Disease Control estimates that 71-85% of all flu-related deaths, and 54-70% of all flu-related hospitalizations occur in people over the age of 65. An older person's immune system is not as strong as a younger person's is, and they are more likely to have other health issues that can weaken them. I have asthma, and have learned the hard way that the ounce of prevention is worth a lot more than a pound of the cure!

Penhill said...

I haven't seen the article in The Times,but it would seem that they are trying to solve the bed blocking in the NHS by killing off all the over 65s.I had the Flu this year over Christmas and New Year having refused the jab for the last few years I would now have the jab if it was given to me using a bow and arrow!

Derek Faulkner said...

That does seem an odd cut off point for the better of the two jabs, it doesn't take much imagination to realise that the older you are, the more lethal the flu is likely to be.

angryparsnip said...

I have to get a flu shot every year. I always get the one for people with compromised immune systems.
I think when everyone gets shot from small children to adults the "herd effect" helps us all. Especially small children when getting the early life saving shots.
This year I have been very careful when going out, no big groups of people, goopy snotty coughing children. I can not get the flu.
My doctor said any signs of flu I have to get in to see her right away for a another shot.
So many children are dying of the flu here. It is awful.

cheers, parsnip

John Gray said...

Strange as it would seem , many of the most serious cases of flu seen on itu were in the younger age bracket!
Like the Spanish flu of the 1920s which killed millions , the young were targeted more than the old

Anonymous said...

A hard decision - I know many people who have had the flu jab and they seem to be the ones who have then had the flu, whereas I never have any jabs - the contents and debates about the possible dangers of the contents of mercury and aluminium etc put me off a bit - I try to keep as healthy as possible and feel more protected taking my vitamin D capsules recommended by my thyroid consultant - it must work I haven't had flu or anything else for about 25 years but I think it is a very personal thing and if you feel more protected for having it then go for it.

Rachel Phillips said...

I see nothing wrong with it. It is always that the strain that attacks in any year may not be covered by the jab, whether it is the three or the four jab. Flu sorts out a few issues with people and the weak die off. We have got too hung up on survival of everybody for ever. We should learn to accept that sometimes the old are going to die from something sometime.

Rachel Phillips said...

And as John says, during the Spanish flu outbreak in the 1920s the young were hard hit, and my mother's churchyard where she is now buried with her mother who died aged 30 from TB, shows that her young cousins were totally wiped out by flu as she used to frequently show me.

Librarian said...

I honestly do not know whether I have ever had the flu in my life. It happens very rarely that I am ill; last week, I did not go to work for two days because I had a big fat red-nose-type of cold. That was the first time in years. The only jabs I have received in recent years were against tetanus and meningitis.
Like another person here said, it is an individual decision, and you can base it on your own experience, that of your friends and information from a doctor you trust.

Bea said...

I think I had heard, as John alluded to, that some folk over a certain age are less targeted by some strains. My mother was exposed to as a child some strain or strains that do hit younger folk who with no prior exposure. I have not yet had a flu jab in my life. I (maybe stupidly, maybe not) will wait until I am a bit older.

Joanne Noragon said...

I haven't had a flu shot in ten years. The last three years I had the shot, I could not stay awake. The last year I literally slept three days away. My doctor said, "Guess you should give it up." I'm afraid to give it a test, though I may when I know it's not grown in chicken eggs. That's on the way, I hear.

justjill said...

As I have COPD I always have the flu jab and have had the one off for pneumonia. When these things come down to cost, if indeed that is why, it is wrong. Should I get flu it would probably be the end of me. As it is my social life becomes nil during the 'flu season'. But then the end of me would free up a bed......

Tom Stephenson said...

H.I. had one this year. I am not sure about them either, but I care more about her getting ill than me.

Christina said...

You may be able to get the quadrivalent flu vaccination at your local pharmacy. It is not free but may well be worth the expense. The last time I paid for a flu vaccination it cost £10 but that was the normal injectable one. Our primary school aged children are all offered the quadrivalent version, it is is nasal spray rather than a needle injection, which is useful. I am keeping my fingers crossed for a flu free winter for you.

Bovey Belle said...

I have it every year - being in an at risk group (asthmatic). I am happy to pay the extra to have a full cover next year. Like justjill I try to avoid the germs (not easy when we're at antiques fairs) and have really boosted the sales of Dettol wipes (for my hands! as well) this year.

I've had flu twice - and the first time it darn near wiped me out (made my asthma much worse too).

the veg artist said...

Husband and I have had a strange virus this last week or so, feeling weak and generally under the weather, but the 'cold' part took a week to fully develop, and then only lasted a few days. Hopefully that was us fighting off what could have been more serious in a weaker person. We put visitors off, as I didn't want to feel that we were guilty of spreading anything to someone whose immune system couldn't cope.

I did read the other day that older people get fewer colds as they are more likely to have already had the 'going' strain at a previous time in their lives. I've not had flu proper since I was a teenager.

Granny Sue said...

I got the shot once and got the flu anyway. Have not had the shot in the last ten years and I don't recall getting the flu either. I tend to get a bad cold at some point every winter, though. I wish there was an immunization against that.

jinxxxygirl said...

Hubby and i never take the flu shot and 'touch wood' have not gotten sick with the flu.. We do practice as much safety measures as possible.. washing hands often and cleaning surfaces, etc... not sure just how much that helps but it can't hurt.. Hugs!deb

jinxxxygirl said...

Read angryparsnips comment and the 'herd effect' is just the reason i don't take it.. We are so trained to just 'go get the flu jab' every year that they could be putting anything in those shots and we would just go get it.. good little guinea pigs.. deb

Cro Magnon said...

I have been quite worried about this year's flu epidemic. When I visited my doc' on Tuesday I asked him about it, and he was able to confirm that it's almost over. Thank goodness!

Gwil W said...

In 79 years I've had flu twice. Asian flu and Hong Kong flu. I've never had a flu jab.

Gwil W said...

Please subtract 9. :-)

Jenny said...

I am 69 and always refused the flu jab, touch wood I hardly catch cold even now living in an apartment building where most of the community has gone down with something over the winter. My husband had the jab once and felt awful for several days afterwards so he refuses it too.

Mitchell is Moving said...

In the USA, it's recommended that everyone get a flu shot. Here in Spain, it's not, which surprises us. I used to got a very bad case of flu every year. In 1989, when I was 35, we were both hit at the same time (he usually didn't get it) and couldn't even get up the stairs for a week. We spent a week on the family room sofa bed. Since then, we've both gotten flu shots every year. I still can get the flu, but it's always much milder in the past. So far so good this year! So, I'll keep buying it here. 10 euros to buy the vaccine and have it administered.

Heather said...

I have had a flu jab every year for the past 10 or 15 years. My husband was advised to have one owing to his chest problems and I thought I should have one in case I caught flu and passed it on to him. I haven't had so much as a cold for the past three or four years so they must do something. This winter the lurgy has been rife but, fingers crossed, has left me alone. I hope those are not in the 'famous last words' category!

Linda Metcalf said...

My husband and I both got the flu shot this year ....we were both flat on our backs in bed so sick we couldn't care for each other, unable to eat or drink. I started getting better but my husband got worse. I drove him to the emergency room at the hospital. He tested positive for Influenza A that included pneumonia. He was in the hospital for 9 days on IV's and oxygen. He is home now with oxygen. He lost 25 lbs and is very weak. I have to help him shave, bathe and am giving him lots of home cooking and dietary supplement milk shakes. Dr. says it may be at least two months before he gains his strength back. We have a physical therapist and home health nurses that come to our home three days a week.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Such a wide range of interesting replies here everyone. They make such interesting reading.