What are the flu vaccines?

What are the flu vaccines?

What are the flu vaccines?

How is the flu vaccine made?

Every year in January or February, public health officials travel abroad to determine the composition of circulating influenza viruses, assuming that those same viruses will arrive in the United States or the rest of the world several months later, in October or November. (at the beginning of flu season), making many people sick. Then, as it is determined in advance which flu viruses will be circulating later that year, vaccine manufacturers are instructed to include those particular strains in their products.

For example, during the 2016-2017 flu season vaccines were required to contain:(1)

  • A/California/7/2009(HlNl);
  • A/HongKong/4801/2014(H3N2);
  • B/Brisbane/60/2008. 

During the 2007-2008 flu season, vaccines contained completely different strains:(2)

  • A/Solomonlslands/3/2006(H1N1); 
  • A/Wisconsin/67/2005(H3N2);
  • B/Malaysia/2506/2004

Since influenza is caused by several influenza viruses, they have been classified into types A, B, and C, then further classified into subtypes named after cities, states, or countries).

The influenza strains used to produce the vaccines are also chosen for "properties that make them easily cultivable on eggs".(3) This is crucial because viruses need to be inoculated into chicken embryos for production. This mixture is left in culture for several weeks, then each strain is inactivated with formaldehyde(4) and preserved with a mercury salt called thimerosal.(5) Mercury is a neurotoxic metal and, despite being removed from numerous pediatric vaccines, many flu vaccines still contain 25 μg per dose.(6-7-8) Flu medicines may also contain polyethylene glycol, polysorbate 80, hydrocortisone, neomycin and polymyxin (antibiotics), sodium deoxycholate, MSG and porcine (pork) gelatin.(9)
The 3 viral strains are mixed into a single vaccine, authorized and then distributed.

No control groups are required to scientifically test the effectiveness and safety of the drug.(10)

NOTE: Below you will find the commonly used vaccines, but not all of them are necessarily approved for the current season. Check the approval determination for the current year on the AIFA website.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Corvelva invites you to get in-depth information by reading all the sections and links, as well as the manufacturer's product leaflets and technical data sheets, and to speak with one or more trusted professionals before deciding to vaccinate yourself or your child. This information is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice.


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