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Q: Flu vaccination during a cold ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   7 Comments )
Subject: Flu vaccination during a cold
Category: Health > Medicine
Asked by: garyg-ga
List Price: $27.50
Posted: 10 Oct 2004 22:45 PDT
Expires: 09 Nov 2004 21:45 PST
Question ID: 413037
What is the current opinion on the advisability of administering a flu
vaccination to a person in the at-risk population while that person is
actively experiencing cold symptoms?
Subject: Re: Flu vaccination during a cold
Answered By: pinkfreud-ga on 10 Oct 2004 23:36 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
In the past, people with colds were often told not to get flu shots,
but currently the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention is that a person with a cold or other mild illness can get
the shot unless a fever is present. I have found no mention on the CDC
website or elsewhere which indicates that this policy differs for
high-risk individuals. The urgency of protecting those at risk from
contracting influenza is emphasized by the CDC.

"Who should get a flu shot?
Because of a shortfall in flu shot production for the 2004-05 flu
season, CDC is recommending that certain people be given priority for
getting the flu shot. People in the following groups should seek
vaccination this season:

- all children aged 6-23 months; 
- adults aged 65 years and older; 
- persons aged 2-64 years with underlying chronic medical conditions; 
- all women who will be pregnant during the influenza season; 
- residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities; 
- children aged 6 months-18 years on chronic aspirin therapy; 
- health-care workers involved in direct patient care; and 
- out-of-home caregivers and household contacts of children aged <6 months. 

These are people that are at high risk for serious flu complications
or are in contact with people at high risk for serious flu

If you are sick with a fever when you go to get your flu shot, you
should talk to your doctor or nurse about getting your shot at a later
date. However, you can get a flu shot at the same time you have a
respiratory illness without fever or if you have another mild

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Q & A: Flu Shot

"You can have the flu shot if you have a cold, but not if you have a
fever. Reschedule!"

Quinnipiac University: Facts About the Flu Shot

"People who are acutely ill with a fever at the time that the shot is
being given should usually wait until they recover before getting
influenza vaccine."

York Region: The Flu Shot

"Persons with minor illnesses can be vaccinated unless they have a fever."

Calgary Health Region: Vaccination - Your Decision

"It?s okay to get a flu shot if you have a minor illness, such as a
cold or diarrhea."

New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene: Time to Get a Flu Shot!

Here you'll find the CDC's most recent recommendations:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Interim Influenza
Vaccination Recommendations - 2004-05 Influenza Season

Google search strategy:

Google Web Search: "flu shot" "at risk" OR "high risk" cold fever

I hope this is helpful. If anything is unclear or incomplete, please
request clarification; I'll be glad to offer further assistance before
you rate my answer.

Best regards,
garyg-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Thank you very much for the quick, concise answer directly on-point
with numerous citations.  I have been sneezing and wondered about
getting the shot this afternoon.  Again, my thanks.  Gary

Subject: Re: Flu vaccination during a cold
From: probonopublico-ga on 11 Oct 2004 00:12 PDT
Here in the UK, the Government mounts a campaign every year before the
'flu season', advising everyone to get stabbed. For those in high risk
categories, it's free.

This year, the Government has egg on its face because one of the main
producers has had a QC problem, hence there's a huge shortage of

Evidently this production problem is affecting other countries too.

(Thought you'd like to know.)
Subject: Re: Flu vaccination during a cold
From: frde-ga on 11 Oct 2004 04:02 PDT
The Flu vaccine is actually an international effort.
I used to know someone on the 'Flu Circuit'.

It is oddly like 'colour forecasting' in the fashion industry.
Basically educated guesswork as to which strain(s) will be virulent next season.

To be fair the QC problem is not down to our Glorious UK Leaders
They don't have much to do with the process.
- although having a suspicious turn of mind, I suspect that there is a
bit more to this story than meets the eye. My guess is that a new
strain has been isolated, and they have switched production.
Egg on face is appropriate - I gather the stuff is actually grown in eggs.
Subject: Re: Flu vaccination during a cold
From: probonopublico-ga on 11 Oct 2004 04:21 PDT
Hi, frde

It is actually a mega American-owned plant in the UK that has the QC
problem. That's for sure.
Subject: Re: Flu vaccination during a cold
From: frde-ga on 14 Oct 2004 01:48 PDT
I must dig out my old pal who knows a lot about this industry

Something smells a bit fishy, about the story.
My understanding is that a number of companies make the same vaccine,
so a screwup in one plant should have limited overall effect.
I detect some panic and a bit of spin.

Just as an aside, I was reliably informed that the Smallpox vaccine
'supplied' by the (ex) Powderject company, is /not/ delivered using
the Powderject gun.
Subject: Re: Flu vaccination during a cold
From: probonopublico-ga on 14 Oct 2004 02:14 PDT
Hi, frde

The story is that the UK National Health Service has six suppliers but
that one of them has had QC problems.

Subject: Re: Flu vaccination during a cold
From: probonopublico-ga on 14 Oct 2004 02:30 PDT
Here's the story on Chiron the people with the QC problems:

Suspended for three months!
Subject: Re: Flu vaccination during a cold
From: probonopublico-ga on 16 Oct 2004 06:56 PDT
According to the news here (in the UK), the US is the worst hit by the
vaccine crisis and people are now supposedly queuing.

Maybe this is disinformation designed to make the news more palatable for UK ears.

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