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Frequently Asked Questions: Influenza and Flu vaccination

Frequently Asked Questions: Influenza and Flu vaccination

Though flu infection is present throughout the year in India, the number of cases increases starting from the Monsoon season, till almost the end of February. While many people get better after they get infected with the influenza virus, some people may also suffer from health-related complications. This is particularly true for people who have chronic health conditions and some other vulnerable groups, like pregnant women, children below the age of 5 years, and adults above the age of 65 years.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the flu vaccine is more relevant than ever before this year. There is a hypothesis that flu vaccination may prevent COVID-19 related complications. To prevent the double burden of being infected with two respiratory infections at the same time, getting vaccinated for the flu is the best path forward.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Here are the answers to a few of the most common Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about flu vaccinations.

Q. What are the benefits of getting the flu vaccine?

  • Prevents you from getting sick with the flu.
  • Reduces the risk of flu-associated hospitalization for children, working-age adults,  and older adults. 
  • Helps prevent serious medical events associated with some chronic conditions.
  • Vaccination helps protect women before and after pregnancy. 
  • Flu vaccination has been shown in several studies to reduce the severity of illness in people who get vaccinated but still get sick. 

Q. How many viruses does the flu vaccine fight against?

The vaccine gives protection against 2 types of viruses i.e. – Influenza type-A and type-B. 

Q. Is the flu vaccine safe?

Flu vaccines are safe. The viruses used in vaccines are inactivated (“killed”) or weakened and cannot cause influenza anymore.

Q. What is the timeline for the flu vaccination drive?

The current Flu vaccination drive is from September 2021 to December 2021.

Q. Which age groups can take the flu vaccine?

The flu vaccine can be given to people who are at least 6 months of age and above.

Note: Prescription by a paediatrician is mandatory for children below the age of 9 years. It may be noted that in case a patient does not have a prescription, our partners at Portea can assist them with the same via telephonic consultation with a paediatrician.

Charges: The charge for the same is INR 499/- per consultation (The amount will be collected by Portea directly from the patient). The prescription needs to be taken before scheduling the vaccine. 

Q. What are the possible symptoms/side effects post-vaccination for various age groups?

  • In children: It may cause mild fever.
  • In adults: Up to 2% chance of getting mild fever and up to 5% chances of experiencing pain at the site of injection. 

Q. What if I suffer allergic reactions/pain post-vaccination?

Please consult your doctor immediately.

Q. Is the consent form mandatory?

Yes, every patient is required to sign a consent form.

  • A technician will collect the signed consent form at the time of inoculation.
  • A hard copy of the consent form will be provided by our partner team at the time of inoculation. 

Q. What is the efficacy of the vaccine?

  • Post-vaccination, patients are 60% less likely to need treatment for flu.
  • Vaccination also reduces the risk of other illnesses, the need for antibiotic use, time off work, hospitalizations, and mortality rate.

Q. Where, how and when can I get the flu vaccine?

  • Flu vaccinations can be booked for home inoculation on the ekincare app as per the time slots available.
  • The currently available time slots are from 10 A.M. to 5 P.M.

Q. How to book my Flu Vaccination appointment?

  • Login to the ekincare app or website.
  • Click on the 'Flu Vaccination' tile and add the required details, then select the date and the preferred time slot of vaccination.

Q. When will my appointment be confirmed?

Our service partner will confirm the appointment on the same day of booking.

  • If your location is not serviceable, our partner team will communicate to us accordingly and you shall receive a  notification on the app that your appointment cannot be confirmed.

Q. What if my city or location is non-serviceable or not available?

In such cases, the ekincare app will ask you to fill out a form with your details and our customer support team will connect with you to help. You may also write to us at help@ekincare.com 

Q. What happens after my booking is confirmed?

  • Our service partner’s nursing staff/technician will report to your location as per the schedule.
  • You will be required to sign the consent form for each individual requiring the flu vaccine.
  • The nursing staff/technician shall also collect the prescription for children below the age of 9 years, as mentioned earlier.

Q. Can I reschedule/cancel my vaccination appointment?

  • Yes, you can do so 24 hours prior to your appointment.
  • If that option is not visible, please write to us at help@ekincare.com and our customer service team will connect with you.

Q. What happens if I am not eligible for the flu vaccine as per the consent form guidelines?

Our service partner’s nursing staff/technician may require you to consult with your doctor regarding the issues that cause ineligibility for the vaccine. Once your doctor gives the go-ahead,  our service partner team will proceed with the vaccination.

Q. What if the nursing staff/technician does not visit on schedule?

You can reach out to our customer support team, or write to help@ekincare.com. We shall try to expedite the vaccination during the same time slot or reschedule your appointment to the next feasible date. 

Q. Are my dependents sponsored for flu vaccination?

Your company’s HR manager will share the details about which dependents are sponsored for flu vaccination.

Q. Can I book the appointment for my non-sponsored dependents?

Yes, you can.

  • You may choose the self-paid option on the ekincare app, and you will receive a payment link when you add the details of the recipient.
  • Your slot will be booked once the payment is completed.

Q. Can the flu vaccine be taken alongside other vaccines (eg. COVID vaccine)?

Kindly note that a minimum interval of 14 days is recommended between taking the COVID-19  vaccine and any other vaccine.

Q. What is the type of vaccine used for flu vaccination? Who is the manufacturer?

The flu vaccine used is a quadrivalent flu vaccine (FluQuadri), manufactured by Sanofi. 

Q. What are the strains covered in the vaccine used for flu vaccination?

The strains covered in FluQuadri 0.5 ml vaccine are 2 subtypes of type-A and 2 subtypes of type-B virus:

  • A/Victoria/2570/2019 (H1N1) pdm09 – like strain (A/Victoria/2570/2019, IVR-215);
  • A/Hong Kong/2671/2019 (H3N2) – like strain (A/Hong Kong/2671/2019, NIB-121);
  • B/Washington/02/2019 – like strain (B/Washington/02/2019, wild type);
  • B/Phuket/3073/2013 – like strain (B/Phuket/3073/2013, wild type).

Q. Can the flu vaccine provide any protection against COVID?

No, the flu vaccine will only protect against specific Influenza viruses.

  • However, there are many benefits from flu vaccination and preventing flu is always important.
  • In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s even more important to do everything possible to reduce illnesses and preserve scarce healthcare resources.

Q. Why should we still get the flu shot, even though it won't directly protect us from the Coronavirus?

  • COVID-19 symptoms are similar to those of influenza (e.g., fever, cough, and shortness of breath), and it is that time of the year when respiratory illnesses from influenza and other viruses, including other coronaviruses that cause the “common cold,” are highly prevalent.
  • To prevent influenza and unnecessary evaluation for COVID-19, all persons aged 6 months and above should receive an annual influenza vaccine.

Q. Is it possible to get the flu and the coronavirus at the same time?

Yes, it is possible to test positive for flu (as well as other respiratory infections) and COVID-19 at the same time. 

Q. Do I really need a flu vaccine every year?

Yes. There are two primary reasons for getting a flu vaccine every year:

  • Flu viruses are constantly changing and so flu vaccines may be updated from one season to the next. You need the current season’s vaccine for the best protection.
  • A person’s immune protection from the vaccine declines over time. 

Q. Are COVID and Influenza similar?

No, COVID and Influenza are caused by two different categories of viruses.

  • While COVID is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, Flu is caused by the Influenza virus.
  • Although they are caused by different viruses, the symptoms and mode of transmission are similar.

Q. Could higher flu vaccination rates help expose new viruses like COVID-19?

  • SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that causes the disease COVID-19.
  • SARS-CoV-2 is a coronavirus, not an influenza virus, and so it would not be present in any flu vaccine.
  • None of the recognized institutions mentions the presence of coronavirus or SARS-CoV-2 amongst vaccine ingredients.
  • Vaccines include inactivated parts of a virus or bacteria to trigger an immune response from the body.
  • Given that flu and coronavirus are from entirely different families of viruses, there would be no scientific reason for even an inactivated pathogen of SARS-CoV-2 to be present in the influenza vaccine. 

Q. How can employees reach out to Portea? Is there a contact number or a link on the platform?

Employees can reach out to ekincare in case of any questions or assistance regarding flu vaccination.

Q. If there is a cancellation on non-sponsored vaccines, when will the refund be processed?

The refund will be processed within 3-4 working days.

For all other queries, reach out to our customer support team, or write to help@ekincare.com

Have even more questions? Check out our webinar on flu vaccination.

Aditya Prakash Swain is an adaptable and dynamic Digital Media Consultant responsible for content marketing strategy, conducting thorough research on industry-related topics, generating ideas for new content types and enhancing brands digital presence.