Influenza Vaccination

What is the influenza (common flu) vaccine?

The influenza vaccine, commonly called the flu jab, is specifically designed to protect against the influenza virus. This contagious virus can spread easily through droplets from coughs and sneezes and infect the respiratory system.

Common symptoms of the influenza virus include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Muscle aches
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches

How the influenza (common flu) vaccine works

The influenza vaccine helps the body develop immunity by stimulating the production of antibodies against the flu virus. These antibodies can identify and neutralise the virus if the vaccinated individual is exposed later. Typically, the vaccine takes about 2 weeks to develop maximum protection.

Types of influenza (common flu) vaccines

Flu jabs can be categorised into:

  • Trivalent vaccines. This protects against 3 strains of the flu virus (2 A strains and 1 B strain).
  • Quadrivalent vaccines. This protects against 4 strains of the flu virus (2 A strains and 2 B strains).

Why do you need the influenza (common flu) vaccine?

Influenza can lead to severe complications, especially in certain demographics such as the elderly, young children, or individuals with weakened immune systems.

In Singapore, the influenza vaccine is recommended under the National Childhood Immunisation Schedule (NCIS) and National Adult Immunisation Schedule (NAIS) to enhance community immunity and reduce the spread of the disease.

When do you need the influenza (common flu) vaccine?

The best time to receive the flu vaccine is before the influenza season begins. Since flu viruses evolve rapidly, yearly vaccinations are advised to protect against the most recent strains.

Who should not receive the influenza (common flu) vaccine?

Certain demographics should consult with their doctor before receiving the vaccine, including:

  • Infants under 6 months
  • Individuals with a history of severe allergic reactions to any component of the vaccine
  • Pregnant women, especially those in their first trimester

How do you prepare for the influenza (common flu) vaccine?

Before getting vaccinated, inform your doctor of any allergies or any history of reactions to previous vaccines.

Avoid vaccination if you're feeling unwell or have a high fever.

What can you expect when getting the influenza (common flu) vaccine?

The influenza vaccine is typically administered as an injection into the upper arm muscle. Depending on the vaccine's formulation and the recipient's age, 1 or 2 doses may be required.

What are the common side effects of the influenza (common flu) vaccine?

Common side effects of the flu jab are usually mild and can include:

  • Pain or swelling at the injection site
  • Mild fever
  • Muscle aches

What are the serious side effects that require medical attention?

While rare, some individuals might experience severe reactions. These can include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swelling around the eyes or lips
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Dizziness or weakness

If any of these symptoms occur, seek medical attention immediately.

Where can I get vaccinated?

Find a Parkway Shenton clinic near you and call us to confirm if your preferred vaccine is available.

Find a clinic near me

Frequently asked questions

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If you are enquiring for your child, please visit our childhood vaccinations page for more details.

If you are enquiring for yourself, please visit our adult vaccinations page for more details.

The flu vaccine offers protection for about 1 year. As the influenza virus strains often change and the body's immune response from vaccination decreases over time, yearly vaccination is recommended.

No, the flu vaccine cannot give you the flu. The vaccine contains inactivated or weakened flu viruses that cannot cause infection.

If you have a mild cold with no fever, receiving the flu vaccine is generally safe. However, if you're feeling unwell, it's best to check with your doctor or wait until you recover.

Some flu vaccines contain a preservative called thimerosal, but preservative-free versions are available. Feel free to discuss any concerns you have with your doctor.

The flu vaccine's effectiveness can vary depending on the match between the vaccine strains and circulating strains. However, even during years when the match is less than optimal, the vaccine can still reduce the severity of the illness.

Even healthy individuals can get severe flu. Vaccination protects you and reduces the spread of the flu to others, including those more vulnerable to severe flu illness.

Yes, it's possible, as the vaccine doesn't guarantee 100% protection. However, if you do get the flu post-vaccination, symptoms are often milder.

Individuals with chronic illnesses may be at higher risk for flu complications. The vaccine provides an important layer of protection for them, but always discuss with a doctor first.

Yes, the influenza vaccine can generally be given at the same time as other vaccines. However, it's always best to consult with your doctor on the compatibility and timing.

You should wait at least 48 hours after completing a course of antibiotics before getting a flu shot. This is because antibiotics can weaken the immune system, making it less effective at responding to the vaccine.

Why choose Parkway Shenton?

Comprehensive family care
Comprehensive family care

A range of healthcare services for you and your family, no matter your needs

Connection to IHH network
Connection to IHH network

Seamless connections to Mount Elizabeth, Gleneagles and other brands in our IHH Healthcare network

Singapore’s oldest GP group
Singapore’s oldest GP group

Your trusted healthcare provider since 1973