Flu Vaccine: Fight the Flu before it gets to you

Autumn is here, which is the best time to get vaccinated against seasonal flu (influenza infection) and give your body enough time to develop protection before the disease spreads in the community. Dr Aun Raza, Consultant Infectious Diseases and General Medicine at Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre, Lahore, answers some common questions related to flu vaccine.

Why you should get a flu shot?

Flu vaccine is an important tool in preventing influenza virus related complications and hospitalisations. In case you become infected, the vaccine reduces severity of illness and you can avoid missing school or work. Flu shots are important in breaking the chain of infections because you may be able to spread flu to someone even before you develop symptoms and become aware that you have been infected. Therefore, it is important that you get a flu shot in a timely manner to protect yourself and your loved ones from flu related severe illnesses.

Who should get it?

Getting flu vaccine is recommended for everyone who is 6 months and older, every season, except in rare cases. Especially, people who are at an increased risk of developing flu related complications should be vaccinated, for example, those with respiratory illnesses such as asthma, lung diseases, diabetes, kidney diseases, liver diseases, and those with weakened immune system including people undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy as part of cancer treatment. It is also recommended for pregnant women because this vaccine plays a protective role for the mother and baby against influenza viruses.

Should cancer patients and family members also get a flu shot?

Flu vaccine is safe for cancer patients and it is recommended that patients and their family members should get vaccinated. Cancer patients who are at a higher risk of flu related complications due to weakened immunity are especially encouraged to get flu vaccine. It is best to consult with your treating physician for more information.

Family members and caregivers of cancer patients are also advised to get the flu shot to prevent flu from spreading and to avoid risking flu related complications in loved ones fighting cancer.

Do you need a flu shot if you are already vaccinated against Covid-19?

Yes, you should get a flu shot even if you are vaccinated against Covid-19 infection. The influenza infection and Covid-19 infection are caused by different viruses, which means that you need separate vaccination for protection against these diseases.

How to get your flu shot at Shaukat Khanum facilities?

A number of different hospitals, clinics, and medical centres are offering flu vaccination. If you wish to get vaccinated from one of the Shaukat Khanum facilities, you can visit our hospitals in Lahore and Peshawar, our diagnostic centre in Liberty, Lahore, and Karachi Diagnostic Centre & Clinic (KDC&C). The flu vaccine price is Rs. 1,989 (service charge applicable for administration).

For the convenience of public, we are offering vaccination as walk-in and as drive-through service. Retail sale (no service charge) of flu vaccine is also available at our pharmacies at Shaukat Khanum Hospitals and KDC&C. For more information, you can call 111-756-111.

Published on October 6, 2022.

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