Had your Flu jab, but what is it really!
You should really be interested in what gets injected into your arm?
There are 5 drug companies that manufacture the world’s flu vaccines and 70 years later all of them are using eggs to grow the vaccine. Every year the NHS buys nearly 16 million doses a year.
Before the eggs are inoculated with the virus they are put into warm storage. When the eggs come out of the warm storage room they are tehn inoculated with a small amount of virus. Each needle will go into an individual egg and inject it with 2ml of flu virus. The eggs are then put in incubators for 72hrs
The incubators temperature and humidity is controlled at 35 degrees celsius and the virus inside will start to grow.When the eggs come out of incubation they go into the harvest area where the tops are cut off. A probe will then suck out the allantoic fluid, the liquid near the edge of the shell, and that is effectively a version of the flu virus. the process takes 8 hrs from start to finish
The eggs are sourced from special farms based in the UK, where tight biosecurity controls and immunisations guard against diseases which might damage egg quality.
The vaccine is made-up of 3 different types of flu virus and a different drug is made every year based on the strains scientists predict will be circulating.
Beverly Taylor, head of technology at Novartis said: “We manufacture one strain at a time so we don’t mix during the manufacture. We produce all strains individually and then blend them together to make the final vaccine.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) has a global network of 147 laboratories in 110 countries monitoring influenza outbreaks.
The data collected informs which strains should be vaccinated against for the next winter.
Heart FailurePatients survival kit in Winter
We have decided to re-post this post from last year as we recieved some good feedback from Heart Failure Nurses on how informative it was for Heart Failure Patients and Carers and how well it had been received. We have tinkered with it a little so we think this version is good to go for the whole of the winter period.
We will keep posting this throught the Winter Period and we will try and make this available in PDF format soon on our main site www.pumpingmarvellous.org
As you maybe aware cold weather is not good news for Heart Failure patients. We thought you may find this “tool kit” useful as it is important to look after yourself during the cold weather and winter months. Firstly before we give you advice you have to realise you are more vulnerable than others. Understand and accept it. When you have done this then carry on.
Pumping Marvellous Winter Heart Failure Tool Box
- Make sure you have had your regular seasonal flu jab at the Doctors, you should have also received a pneumonia jab as well.
- Hat, scarf and gloves – always carry these as they prevent you loosing heat at your extremities but also if you are on beta blockers you are more susceptible to cold fingers and toes.
- I know this may sound far fetched but make sure you have a fully charged mobile / cell phone with you when you go out, if you don’t have a mobile / cell phone then tell your carer where you are going and what time you expect to be back, if you don’t have a carer tell your neighbour.
- If bad weather is expected and you have to make a car journey, make sure you take your tablets with you and a bottle of water to swill them down with.
- If you are susceptible to the cold air and get breathless – wrap a scarf around your face, it’s very fashionable with the Inuit
- Make sure if you are going out on that car journey you take a coat, hat and gloves, however short.
- Have a letter in the car with your up to date prescription and diagnosis just in case.
- The last thing you want to happen is get stuck in the snow in your car however there are a number items that may help you out, these include Snow Socks for your car tyres, body warming packsand snow shovels.
- If there is bad weather predicted make sure you have a stock of medicines so that if you can’t get to the Doctors or Pharmacy then you have sufficient stock.
- Make sure your car is prepared for the winter months reducing the risk of breaking down. Visit the RAC to find out more.
- I know this is a tough one to explain but if you are worrying about the cost of heating your house due to the ever rising fuel bills then go somewhere where you can keep warm like the pub/bar or the supermarket for a cup of coffee or a cafe and have a cup of tea. I know it’s not easy but it does make sense. If this is not possible, don’t heat the whole house/flat just heat the rooms you need.
- Wrap up warm in your house – fashion doesn’t make sense in the house nobody can see you so wear thick jumpers, a double layer of socks and thermal underwear. A lot of the discount clothing retailers are touting for your business at the moment and there are some really good deals on Winter clothing at the moment. Stores include Asda George, Primark, Matalan, Tesco Clothing, Sainsburys Clothing, TK Maxx and Peacocks, the list goes on…
- Make sure you have some of the basics in your kitchen cupboard. Pumping Marvellous top 10 essentials
- Long Life Milk
- Part Baked Bread Rolls
- Low Salt Baked Beans
- Low Salt tinned soup
- Tinned fruit in juice not syrup
- Frozen Vegetables in the freezer if you have a freezer or tinned vegetables in water
- 10 litres of drinking water if your pipes freeze
- Packets of Rice and Pasta with a good selection of spices
- Tinned Tomatoes
Make sure you explain to your carer how the cold effects you so they can pick up on the warning signs.
The motto is if the weather is too bad then it can wait.
You must be sick and tired of us reminding you but it is very important that you make an appointment to see a Nurse to get your seasonal flu jab. Flu of any type can be very dangerous for people with Heart Failure therefore it is important to protect yourself. You can also now go to your Local Pharmacy and pay for a Flu Jab. I was in Asda this morning and customers were queuing for their Flu Jabs.
Also make sure that when you see your clinician they have had one to. Believe it or not but some NHS Trusts in the UK only have a 10% uptake, the average is 26% of the seasonal flu jab by members of the Trust which we think is pretty disgraceful considering the “At Risk” patients they work with. So ask the question!
Nearly time to protect against seasonal flu
Over the next few months it’s the time for Heart Failure patients to get that all important flu jab. An extra two million flu vaccines have been ordered and an emergency “shot-pile”
is being set up as health officials prepare for the flu season.
Last year, 14.7 million shots were ordered. For this winter 16.7 million have been ordered and 400,000 will be kept in reserve.
For the second year running there will be no advertising campaign in England to raise awareness, unlike in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Chief Medical Officer Pro Dame Sally Davies questioned the usefulness of adverts, saying people “listen to trusted sources, not government”. She is instead relying on health workers, charities and pharmacies to target those at risk. Bags of medicine from the pharmacist will carry messages encouraging people to have the jab as “patients in at risk groups are taking medicines,” she said. Last winter more than 600 people in the UK died as a direct result of catching flu.
The vaccine itself, based on advice from the World Health Organization, will again protect against swine flu (H1N1) as well as the H3N2 and Flu B strains.
These are the same three viruses as last winter, but the government’s director of immunisation, Prof David Salisbury, warned patients they would be gambling if they were not immunised again this year.He warned there was no evidence that last year’s shot would still offer protection and that “it’s playing high risk stakes thinking you’re protected”.
Prof Davies again criticised healthcare workers who did not get vaccinated, saying they were “selfish” for not protecting their patients. Last year 35% were vaccinated, up from 26% the year before.
Prof Salisbury said there had been renewed attempts to “persuade, influence and cajole employees”, but there also needed to be improvements within hospitals to make it easier for staff to get vaccinated. He said that at Birmingham Children’s Hospital Foundation NHS Trust, 95% of front-line staff had had the seasonal flu jab, but that figure was as low as 10% in other areas.
So the messsage here is to get vaccinated yourself but ask your Doctor or Nurse if they have been vaccinated and if not why?