Tropical Thailand sees cases of influenza (‘flu’) all year round but usually the peak activity is during the rainy season, from May to September. This mirrors the flu season of Southern Hemisphere countries, leading to confusion over when to take a flu vaccine in Thailand and which one to take: the Northern Hemisphere vaccine or the Southern Hemisphere version?
Whilst the world has been busy dealing with SARS-CoV-2 and many of us having cocktails of vaccines to be protected against Covid 19, we must not forget about the flu vaccine. In many critical Covid cases people have been co-infected with influenza. Covid 19 can cause critical respiratory conditions as does influenza. This is the reason why we should not forget to be vaccinated and be protected against influenza.
Do I need a flu vaccine even though I have had a Covid 19 vaccine already?
Having been vaccinated against Covid 19 doesn’t mean you will be protected for influenza. You still need to have a flu vaccination to be protected from influenza and Covid vaccine to be protected against Covid 19.
Can I have a Covid 19 and influenza vaccine at the same time?
Yes. You can have them both at the same time. A Covid 19 vaccination in one arm and flu vaccine in the other.
Do I need to have flu vaccine every year?
Yes. Viruses in general are constantly changing and therefore flu vaccines hence the need to be done annually to have the best protection. It is also advised that vulnerable or people at high risk should be having a flu vaccine every year.
The best way to prevent flu is to take the vaccine each year and to follow good hand sanitation measures such as avoiding touching your face, washing your hands often, maintaining a safe (1 metre) distance from people who are ill, not eating food with your hands, etc.
Persons recommended to take the vaccine are those who are most at risk from getting severe illness from the flu virus, ie:
- those aged 60 years and above
- people of any age with underlying health conditions *
- people of any age with weakened immune systems **
- pregnant women
The vaccine is not recommended if you have ever had a neurological condition called Guillain- Barre Syndrome or if you have ever had a severe allergic reaction to a vaccine of any kind. In these instances? we advise that you discuss the matter with a healthcare provider.
People who are allergic to eggs may still take the vaccine if the allergic reaction was a only skin rash but again this should be carefully discussed with a healthcare provider first.
* especially conditions such as kidney or liver disease, heart disease, diabetes, asthma and other lung diseases
** such as cancer patients, people taking steroids or other immunosuppressing medications, HIV patients
If you are unsure whether you should get the vaccine or not then please phone us for individual advice.