The flu vaccine – frequently asked questions

We get all your frequently asked questions regarding the flu vaccine answered by Abbott Laboratories.

Flu vaccine

Seasonal changes are upon us, and so is flu season. Now, more than ever we should protect ourselves and our families against flu.

What is flu?

Flu is easily confused with a cold. Flu is a viral infection that causes serious respiratory tract infections. The symptoms are like cold symptoms, except that the onset is very sudden. One morning you may be well, and that afternoon you’re running a high fever and feel really ill3.

How is it spread?

  • Via droplets when infected people cough or sneeze near you3.
  • When you touch infected surfaces and then touch your eyes, mouth or nose straight afterwards3.
  • Flu spreads easily in crowded spaces, such as child care centres, schools, office buildings and public transportation.

High-risk groups include3,4

  • The elderly
  • People with existing medical conditions, such as diabetes and cancer.
  • Nursing home residents
  • People with immune deficiencies, such as HIV+
  • Pregnant women
  • Obese people
  • Children over six months

Why should I get vaccinated annually?

Flu viruses change, and every year the flu vaccine is altered to match the viruses expected to circulate that year3.

What are the symptoms of influenza?

  • Runny nose3
  • Aches and pains3
  • Vomiting5
  • Diarrhoea (runny stomach)5
  • Fever3
  • Tiredness3
  • Coughing3
  • Sore throat3

How does the flu vaccine work?

The vaccine is made up of a small inactive part of that season’s flu virus. Being inactive, it cannot infect your body with the virus, yet it allows your body to make antibodies to fight the flu.  In that way, you’re building up immunity to the flu virus6.

What can I do to protect myself, my family and loved ones?

  • Get vaccinated with the seasonal flu vaccine3.
  • You can also protect yourself and others by practicing good personal hygiene e.g. washing your hands and flushing away used tissues3.

Can catching the flu cause other illnesses or complications?

Yes, it could. This is especially true for children and adults that are considered high-risk3.

Complications can include3

  • Pneumonia
  • Bronchitis
  • Asthma flare-ups
  • Heart problems
  • Ear infections

Remember flu facts

F – Fever

A – Aches and pains

C – Chills

T – Tiredness

S – Sudden onset of illness


  1. Smart Syringe System; Data on file.
  2. Van de Witte SV, Nauta J, Giezeman-Smits KM, de Voogd JM. Trivalent inactivated subunit influenza vaccine: 30-year experience of safety and immunogenicity. Trials in Vaccinology 2012;1:42–48.
  3. Influenza (flu). Mayoclinic [online]. Accessed 23/10/2018. Available at:
  4. 4.Flu Care in Day Care: The Impact of Vaccination Requirements. National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. Published January 2015. Accessed 05/11/2018. Available at:
  5. Influenza FAQ document – 2017. National Institute for Communicable Diseases. Accessed  05/11/2018.  Available at:
  6. Stöppler MC. Flu Vaccine (Influenza Immunization or Flu shot). MedicineNet [online]. Reviewed 18/09/2018. Accessed 19/11/2018. Available at:

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Tel No.: 011 858 2000

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