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Understanding Trivalent Influenza Vaccine (TIV)

Influenza, commonly known as the flu, poses a significant health risk each year, particularly during flu seasons. To combat this viral infection, various vaccines have been developed, one of which is the Trivalent Influenza Vaccine (TIV). Let's delve into what TIV entails and its importance in safeguarding against influenza.


Trivalent Influenza Vaccine (TIV)

What is TIV?

Trivalent influenza vaccine, abbreviated as TIV, is a type of flu vaccine designed to protect against three different strains of influenza viruses. Unlike some other vaccines, TIV contains inactivated viruses, meaning the viruses within the vaccine are no longer capable of causing infection. This renders the vaccine safe for administration.


Composition of Influvac TIV

Influvac TIV, a prominent example of trivalent influenza vaccine, comprises three inactivated influenza viruses. These include two distinct influenza type A strains and one influenza type B strain. The selection of these specific strains is based on rigorous research and analysis to predict the strains that are likely to be prevalent in the upcoming flu season.


Annual Formulation of Trivalent Influenza Vaccine

Influenza viruses are known for their ability to mutate rapidly, leading to the emergence of new strains. To counteract this constant evolution, trivalent influenza vaccine formulations are updated annually. Scientists and healthcare professionals closely monitor influenza activity worldwide to identify the most relevant strains for inclusion in the vaccine.


Projection of Influenza Strains

The annual formulation process involves predicting which influenza strains will be predominant in the upcoming flu season. This forecasting is based on surveillance data collected from various sources, including global influenza monitoring networks. By selecting the most appropriate strains for inclusion, the effectiveness of the vaccine is optimised.


Importance of Influenza Vaccination

Vaccination against influenza is crucial for protecting individuals from this contagious respiratory illness. While anyone can benefit from receiving the flu vaccine, certain groups are particularly vulnerable to severe complications of influenza. It is essential for these high-risk individuals to prioritise influenza vaccination.


High-Risk Groups

Individuals who are immunocompromised, such as those undergoing cancer treatment, living with autoimmune diseases, or infected with HIV, face increased susceptibility to severe influenza-related complications. Additionally, adults over the age of 65 and young children are at higher risk due to their developing or weakened immune systems.


Eligibility for Influenza Vaccination

The flu vaccine is recommended for individuals aged six months and older. This broad eligibility ensures that a significant portion of the population can benefit from vaccination. By vaccinating as many people as possible, the spread of influenza can be mitigated, protecting both vaccinated individuals and those around them.


Side Effects of Influenza Vaccination

While the flu vaccine is generally safe, some individuals may experience mild side effects following vaccination. Among the most common side effects are muscle aches and low-grade fever, which typically resolve within a day or two. These symptoms are often indicative of the body's immune response to the vaccine antigens.


Effectiveness of Influenza Vaccination

After receiving the flu shot, it takes approximately two weeks for the body to develop optimal immunity against influenza. During this period, the immune system generates protective antibodies that recognize and neutralise influenza viruses. Once immunity is established, the risk of contracting and spreading the flu is significantly reduced.


Conclusion

Trivalent influenza vaccine (TIV) plays a vital role in protecting individuals against influenza, a contagious respiratory illness. By annually formulating the vaccine to target prevalent influenza strains, healthcare providers can effectively mitigate the impact of flu seasons. It is essential for individuals, especially those at higher risk for complications, to prioritise influenza vaccination as a preventive measure.


FAQs

What are the common side effects of the flu vaccine?

Muscle aches and low-grade fever are common side effects of the flu vaccine, typically resolving within a day or two.


Is the flu vaccine safe for children?

Yes, the flu vaccine is safe for children aged six months and older, as recommended by healthcare authorities.


Can I get the flu from the flu vaccine?

No, the flu vaccine contains inactivated viruses and cannot cause influenza infection.


How long does the flu vaccine protect you?

The flu vaccine provides protection for the duration of the flu season, typically lasting several months.


Is it necessary to get the flu vaccine every year?

Yes, annual vaccination is recommended as influenza viruses continually evolve, necessitating updated vaccine formulations.


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