Frequently Asked Questions – Flu Vaccination

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1. Why is it smart to get a flu shot now?
The Flu vaccine is important right now. When you’ve contracted flu, you are even more susceptible to the coronavirus. You can also prevent serious complications with a flu shot. The symptoms of flu are difficult to distinguish from COVID-19 symptoms. With a vaccination you avoid confusion with COVID-19.

2. I am healthy, why should I be vaccinated?
To stay healthy. Influenza (popularly called ‘flu’) can make you sick for a week, and it often takes another one or two weeks to feel completely ‘fit’ again. You can’t work for a while and your social life is on pause. Your family life also becomes quite disrupted, especially if several family members, friends and colleagues are sick. If people in your area belong to the risk groups for the flu, vaccination is also a social act. It reduces the chances of you infecting them.

3. How does the flu shot protect you?
The effect of a flu shot has been extensively tested, and has been the same for decades. There are hardly any side effects. But how exactly does it work? After the vaccination, the immune system starts producing antibodies against the viral proteins inside the vaccine. When exposure with the real virus subsequently takes place, the antibodies bind to invading flu viruses, so that they can be eliminated and the tissue does not suffer (any more) damage. As a result, people are less likely to get sick and when they do, it reduces severity of illness .

4. Can I get the flu from the flu shot?
No, the flu vaccine cannot cause the flu. Not even in people with lowered resistance. The Dutch flu vaccine contains dead parts of flu viruses, and it isn’t possible to get the flu from those. You can only get the flu from a live flu virus.

Some people may feel less well for a few days after the flu shot. And get a slight fever, for example. This isn’t the flu, but a normal reaction of the body to a vaccination.

5. I am pregnant, can I still get vaccinated?
Yes. When you are pregnant, getting the flu, and especially the complications that can result from the flu, can be a risk for mother and child. Therefore, vaccination is often recommended for pregnant women who are in their second or third trimester of pregnancy (i.e. > 13 weeks pregnant) during the flu season (December to April). If you are in the risk group, vaccination is recommended regardless of the stage of the pregnancy.

6. What’s in the vaccine?
MediCorps vaccinates with: Influvac Tetra. This is the same vaccine as used in the Dutch National Immunisation Programme.

The flu vaccine is an inactivated quadrivalent vaccine and targets 4 influenza viruses of type A and B:

A/Victoria/2570/2019 (H1N1) pdm09-like virus
A/Cambodia/e0826360/2020 (H3N2)-like virus
B/Washington /02/2019 (B/Victoria lineage)-like virus
B/Phuket/3073/2013 (B/Yamagate lineage)-like virus

You can find the package leaflet text on

7. Is there a difference between the flu and a cold?
The symptoms of a cold sometimes resemble those of the flu. As a result, people quickly think they are suffering from the flu. But unlike a cold, the flu can be a dangerous respiratory infection for some people, caused by the flu virus. The flu is very contagious and healthy people can easily be sick for a week. After that, it often takes another one or two weeks until you feel completely ‘fit’ again. In certain risk groups, such as elderly people or people with asthma, heart disease or diabetes, the flu can cause serious complications or sometimes even death.

8. Can you take measures to prevent the flu?
There are no watertight guarantees. Viruses spread through the air when coughing or sneezing. As a result, you can become infected directly, but the viruses can also end up on all kinds of objects such as kitchen appliances or door handles.

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