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just got flu shot in NY. Does it work if I'm traveling to 12 countries next 2 months?

just got flu shot in NY. Does it work if I'm traveling to 12 countries next 2 months?

Old Oct 23, 19, 5:30 pm
  #1  
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just got flu shot in NY. Does it work if I'm traveling to 12 countries next 2 months?

Just got my flu shot this afternoon. Was going to wait, but my grocery store pharmacy was offering free $20 gift certificate for flu shot, so I couldn't refuse.

Anyway....

I'm traveling to 12 countries on three different continents in the next 2 months. Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Germany, Brazil, Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Malaysia.

I've never thought about this... but does one flu shot work globally?

Thanks!
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Old Oct 23, 19, 6:07 pm
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Very interesting question.

I'll leave it to the experts to provide actual data, but my understanding is the flu strains are constantly evolving and mutating. CDC often uses data from the Asia to predict strains that will be in the US during flu season. This would seem to imply that they get flu strains not in the US vaccination in advance. Once article says

H3N2 viruses are always going around in East and Southeast Asia, and spread to the rest of the world in yearly flu epidemics — which is how we can predict what strains are coming each year. Between worldwide epidemics, H3N2 strains die out everywhere but the west. That means each yearly epidemic spreads out from that reservoir, including the new strains you need to get a fresh shot for.
So, in theory, next year's US flu season strain (and what will be in next year's vaccination) may already be mutating and circulating in some of the places you're headed. Not sure what you can do about it though.

Here's a map showing the variety of current strains around the world. FWIW, this year's US vaccine:
  • The A(H1N1)pdm09 vaccine component was updated from an A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus to an A/Brisbane/02/2018 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus.
  • The A(H3N2) vaccine component was updated from an A/Singapore/INFIMH-16-0019/2016 A(H3N2)-like virus to an A/Kansas/14/2017 (H3N2)-like virus.
  • Both B/Victoria and B/Yamagata virus components from the 2018-2019 flu vaccine remain the same for the 2019-2020 flu vaccine.
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Old Oct 23, 19, 6:13 pm
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Here's a "Flu for Travelers" site - https://www.cdc.gov/flu/school-busin...elersfacts.htm

I've been to "international travel medical preparation" companies a few times (company paid - quite pricey), who provide recommendations and innoculations based on travel plans. I've received Hep A/B/C, Polio, Typhoid, etc., etc., based on where I'm traveling, but have never received anything other than the standard US flu shot. They do ask, and recommend, one, but when I tell them I got one locally, they don't make other recommendations, so I assume the US shot is about your only option.
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Old Oct 23, 19, 9:52 pm
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The flu shot is last year's best guess to what will be common this year. There are regional variations even within the US but I think getting the flu shot is beneficial worldwide. What's in Australia often comes to the US.
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Old Oct 23, 19, 10:50 pm
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A flu shot takes about 2 weeks to take full effect. After that, it should provide at least some protection everywhere.
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Old Oct 23, 19, 10:53 pm
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Originally Posted by Toshbaf View Post
The flu shot is last year's best guess to what will be common this year. There are regional variations even within the US but I think getting the flu shot is beneficial worldwide. What's in Australia often comes to the US.
Does this suggest that residents from Australia traveling to the USA might have somewhat better protection than residents from the USA traveling to Australia?

GC
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Old Oct 23, 19, 11:27 pm
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Flu shot is tough. Itís good to get it, but itís really a best guess of what flu strains will be prominent each season.

For example, I received my shot in October 2017, and caught flu in London May 2018. (I was told it should still help protect me on our trip.) It sucked, and I donít recommend it. Especially since I developed pneumonia afterwards.

The best thing to do is wash your hands frequently. Do not touch your face, especially eyes, and nose. Wipe down your transportation and accommodations as best as possible. Avoid sick people.

Safe travels!
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Old Oct 23, 19, 11:32 pm
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Originally Posted by GeezerCouple View Post
Does this suggest that residents from Australia traveling to the USA might have somewhat better protection than residents from the USA traveling to Australia?

GC
Yes, if they got the flu already.
No (the same), if they got the flu shot.
That's my guess and I have stayed at a Holiday Inn Express.
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Old Oct 24, 19, 4:12 am
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The Southern Hemisphere vaccine composition is usually different to that of the northern hemisphere (they are also released on to the market at different times of year to account for when the peak flu season occurs). At any rate, no vaccine is going to give you full coverage as, per previous comments, the strains are included each year are based on a prediction of which are going to be responsible for the worst of the infections.
In saying than, any flu jab is better than none!
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Old Oct 24, 19, 6:35 am
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Don't get Shingrix less than a week before travel

While we're on the subject of traveling after receiving a vaccine, I'm suffering my fifth day of very uncomfortable side effects from my second Shingrix (the new, more effective shingles vaccine) injection. I'm really glad I'm not traveling. I had severe chills the first night, then gradually increasing neck stiffness which is quite painful now. I don't know what percentage of recipients suffer these symptoms but Google tells me I'm far from alone.
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Old Oct 24, 19, 3:49 pm
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Originally Posted by ajGoes View Post
While we're on the subject of traveling after receiving a vaccine, I'm suffering my fifth day of very uncomfortable side effects from my second Shingrix
That's good to keep in mind - to not get a vaccine within a week or so of traveling. You never know what reaction you might get.

I recently got the pneumonia vaccine, PCV13, which was followed by several days of feeling very achey and lethargic.

edited to add: Hope you feel better soon.
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Last edited by muji; Oct 24, 19 at 3:55 pm
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Old Oct 24, 19, 3:59 pm
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Originally Posted by muji View Post
That's good to keep in mind - to not get a vaccine within a week or so of traveling. You never know what reaction you might get.

I recently got the pneumonia vaccine, PCV13, which was followed by several days of feeling very achey and lethargic.

edited to add: Hope you feel better soon.
Good advice.

We try to avoid shots, especially vaccines, if the next few days are "important" (meetings, travel, etc.), just in case.

But apparently the Shingrix vaccine (the new one, not the older one) can have especially unpleasant, but temporary, side effects for several days.

Thanks for the reminder!
I had been trying on and off a lot to find some "in stock", and I sort of forgot about it, even though we remembered the flu shots.

GC
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Old Oct 24, 19, 4:54 pm
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Originally Posted by GeezerCouple View Post
I had been trying on and off a lot to find some "in stock", and I sort of forgot about it, even though we remembered the flu shots.
It was by remembering flu shots that I ended up getting this Shingrix shot! My wife suggested she, my son, and I should get our flu shots. We went to the pharmacy where I had finally tracked down the Shingrix vaccine in August. I was rolling up my sleeve for a flu shot when the pharmacist, looking up my records, told me I was ready for the follow-up Shingrix jab.

I'm still suffering. My reading at cdc.gov tells me no fewer than one in six people have reactions severe enough to limit activities for two days. And, I'm still due for my flu shot!

It seems the Shingrix allocation system is quite haphazard. I was on a waiting list at our nearest Kroger for nine months and still had months to go. A pharmacist there told me another nearby store had plenty, and that small, independent pharmacies often had more than enough. I went to the independent that my wife and son use. I don't get my regular scripts there because they aren't on my insurance network.

Last edited by ajGoes; Oct 24, 19 at 4:59 pm
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Old Oct 24, 19, 4:59 pm
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Originally Posted by ajGoes View Post
It was by remembering flu shots that I ended up getting this Shingrix shot! My wife suggested she, my son, and I should get our flu shots. We went to the pharmacy where I had finally tracked down the Shingrix vaccine in August. I was rolling up my sleeve for a flu shot when the pharmacist, looking up my records, told me I was ready for the follow-up Shingrix jab.

I'm still suffering. My reading at cdc.gov tells me no fewer than one in six people have reactions severe enough to limit activities for two days. And, I'm still due for my flu shot!
This was your "follow-up" Shingrix shot? How long ago did you have the first?

I had a lot of trouble finding it available. And when I did, it was reserved for those who had already had the first, and thus had a bit of a "window" for the second.
Once, the local CVS had some, and said they'd hold one for me. By the time I got there the next day, all of their supply had been given to others. Maybe there is better availability now?

On another forum, a high proportion of those who got Shingrix had varying discomfort, enough to interfere with activities and to feel miserable.

Hope you feel better soon.

GC
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Old Oct 25, 19, 9:06 pm
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Originally Posted by GeezerCouple View Post
Does this suggest that residents from Australia traveling to the USA might have somewhat better protection than residents from the USA traveling to Australia?

GC
If they received the immunization, probably yes. The patterns of influenza immunization between the U.S. and Australia are different. Last year it was reported, based on the first statistics from Australia, that the vaccine wasn't very effective. However, Australia's priority was to vaccinate those at the highest risk of complications, which does prevent many hospitalizations and deaths, but does little to keep flu from spreading (because the oldest and sickest people tend to get around less anyway). What does the most to keep flu from spreading is to vaccinate school children, which is done much more in the U.S. than in Australia.

On the other hand, an Australian visiting the U.S. during our flu season would have received the vaccination about six months ago, if s/he received it at all, and the immunity wanes fairly quickly.

(I don't even play a doctor on TV.)
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