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Your guide to the flu vaccination program in China

When you talk about vaccines these days, most people assume you’re talking about the COVID-19 vaccine. Yet it’s important to remember that the yearly, seasonal flu vaccinations remain just as important to safeguarding your health and the health of those around you. In this Pacific Prime China article, we’ll shed light on the country’s flu vaccination program, why you should consider getting jabbed, and any other concerns you may have. 

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Flu is a potentially serious illness 

Short for influenza, flu is a contagious and potentially serious respiratory illness. It’s caused by two main types of influenza viruses (Type A and Type B) that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. Some people with flu only feel rough for a few days, while others run the risk of hospitalization or even death. 

As every flu season is different, it’s recommended to get the annual seasonal flu vaccine to protect against the flu and reduce the severity of the illness – especially if you’re at a higher risk of developing flu complications. This includes senior citizens above 65 years old, children under 2 years old, those with chronic conditions, pregnant women, and more. 

Getting a flu vaccine to protect yourself 

To safeguard yourself against the upcoming flu season in China, it’s a good idea to get a flu vaccine between September and October. You’ll be able to get the inactivated flu vaccine, which is divided into the 3 and 4-valent vaccine categories according to the number of antigens they contain:

  • 3-valent vaccine: It contains two influenza A antigens and one influenza B virus antigen.
  • 4-valent vaccine: It contains two influenza A virus antigens and two influenza B virus antigens.

The vaccines are available for individuals on a voluntary basis in China, and there are a number of flu vaccine manufacturers you can choose from. Details can be obtained from the China Food and Drug Administration. Depending on the manufacturer chosen, the immunization procedure will vary slightly. 

Benefits of the flu vaccine

It goes without saying that getting the annual flu shot has a number of benefits. To start off with, a flu shot prevents you from catching the flu and/or being seriously ill from it. In fact, it has been shown to reduce the risk of needing to visit the doctor with flu by around 40 to 60%. Aside from this, here are the reasons to get a flu shot:

  • Flu shots prevent you from being hospitalized or needing to take time off to recover, which reduces your sick days*. 
  • If you get seriously ill from the flu, flu shots can even save your life. 
  • It is easy to get flu shots in China. 
  • You won’t get the flu from getting the flu shot. 
  • Any side effects from getting the flu shot are usually mild. 
  • It can help with herd immunity, which means getting the flu shot can protect other vulnerable people in society. 
  • And more.

*Are you an employer? If so, you’ll also see overall productivity increase.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the flu vaccine

If you’re inclined to get the flu vaccine, you should have all your questions answered and your doubts cleared so that you feel empowered to make the right decisions. It’s advisable to speak to your medical practitioner before getting the flu vaccine – particularly if your case is more complex or you have specific questions related to your personal or medical history. 

For general queries about the flu vaccine, here are some FAQs to get you going:

Should I get the flu vaccine?

As mentioned above, flu vaccination is highly recommended for vulnerable populations like the elderly, young children, those with chronic conditions, and pregnant women*. You should also consider getting the flu vaccine if you work in a healthcare setting. However, the flu vaccine is not advisable for those in the following categories:

  • People who are allergic to any of the ingredients in the vaccine (including egg, ingredients, formaldehyde, Triton X-100, and neomycin). 
  • People with mild to moderate acute illness with or without fever should be vaccinated after symptoms subside.
  • People with a medical or family history of progressive neurological disease, such as epilepsy or Guillain-Barre syndrome.

*Although pregnant women are usually recommended to get a flu vaccine, you should note that some vaccine brands lack clinical trial data for pregnant women and/or breastfeeding women in China. Please speak to your medical practitioner for more information. 

I’ve had the COVID-19 vaccine / other vaccines recently. When can I get the flu vaccine?

You can get the flu vaccine at least 14 days after your COVID-19 vaccine. As for other vaccines, it’s slightly different. Inactivated influenza vaccines, other inactivated vaccines, and live attenuated vaccines can be administered at different sites at the same time. However, after receiving the live attenuated influenza vaccine, you must wait more than 28 days before receiving other live attenuated vaccines. 

What side effects should I be aware of?

As with other inactivated viruses, the flu vaccine in China contains dead viruses and will not cause flu. That said, some adverse reactions may occur in both children and adults. This includes redness, swelling, pain at injection site, fever, headache, muscle ache, tiredness, and others. These are common reactions after getting vaccines and tend to be mild and short in duration. 

However, please seek medical attention if your temperature is higher than 38.0℃ and lasts for more than 48 hours. You should also go to the nearest hospital immediately if you develop serious allergic reactions (which are extremely rare). Symptoms include difficulty breathing, generalized weakness, hives, hoarseness or wheezing, dizziness, paleness, tightness of throat, and racing heart beats. 

Get in touch with Pacific Prime China today!

You can sign up for the 2022 flu vaccine by contacting Pacific Prime China. We partner with a number of healthcare providers in the country, and our advisors can help you arrange a flu shot. If you haven’t already secured health insurance, you’re also more than welcome to do so via our team. We provide unbiased advice, a tailored plan comparison, and a number of value-added services to support you along the way. 

Contact us to get started!

Disclaimer: Pacific Prime China solely represents, operates and manages locally regulated insurance products and services in the territory of PR China. Any references to Pacific Prime Global Company or Group, the international services, insurance products or otherwise stated written or verbally, is for introduction purposes about our overseas network only as each entity is fully independent.

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Content Creator at Pacific Prime China
Suphanida aims to demystify the world of insurance by creating informative and engaging content. As a wordsmith, she spends the majority of her day writing and editing website content, blog posts, in-depth guides, and more.

Outside of work, Suphanida enjoys traveling to new places and immersing herself in different cultures.