Flu prevention

Flu season typically falls between  calendar week 40 to week 20 of the following calendar year.  An additional announcement is made about the beginning of influenza epidemic.

When the incidence rate of influenza and ARI reaches 100 cases/10 000 population per week, and clinical cases of influenza account for 30% of all registered cases of influenza and acute respiratory infections.

It is recommended to get flu vaccine every year. The best time to get a shot is in September-October when vaccines are available at medical centres.

Most people get vaccinated in October - November. The vaccination season lasts until the end of the circulation of influenza viruses. Therefore, even after the announcement of influenza epidemic, healthy individuals are recommended to get vaccinated if they have not done that yet and have not been infected with all forms of virus of that particular flu season.

Risk groups for seasonal flu:

• Pregnant women
• Persons with chronic medical conditions regardless of age (including children)
• Persons living in social care and nursing facilities (including child care institutions)
• Healthcare workers (including dentists)
• Elderly individuals (aged more than 65 years)

In Lithuania, there are "free" and commercial flu vaccines every year. Commercial (paid) flu vaccine is available at any health care facility.

People in risk groups (with chronic medical conditions regardless of their age (including children), persons living in social care and nursing facilities (including child care institutions), Healthcare workers (including dentists), elderly individuals (aged more than 65 years) are entitled to get a vaccine paid from the State budget at the health care institution where they are registered. In any case, you should consult your family doctor.

The cost of seasonal flu vaccine can vary slightly from year to year depending on the vaccine manufacturer and health care facility.

Different facilities may purchase the vaccine at different prices, which depend on the quantity of vaccine purchased and the wholesaler.

The price of the flu vaccine is about 12 euros. Considering the fact that the vaccine can help prevent flu and the complications it causes, the vaccine is relatively inexpensive. It is much more expensive to get ill, to buy other medicines, to be treated in hospital and experience complications caused by the flu or exacerbations of chronic underlying conditions.

Many scientific studies conducted during different flu seasons have shown that a person's immunity to flu viruses (either naturally acquired or vaccinated) declines over time. The decrease of antibodies is caused by several factors - the age of the person being vaccinated and the health status of the person (e.g. chronic diseases). When healthy people get a flu vaccine, their bodies start producing antibodies and they are protected against the flu virus throughout the season. Bodies of older people and people with weakened immune systems cannot produce the same amount of antibodies after vaccination, hence they are more likely to develop mild or even severe illness, but they are protected from serious flu complications and death.

It is recommended to get a flu vaccine every year because flu viruses mutate. The composition of a flu vaccine is reviewed annually and updated as needed so that it would effectively protect the population against flu viruses that change every year. It has been found that the body's resistance to influenza viruses decreases over the course of the year, but the vaccine provides protection against infection for the entire season. Therefore, it is important to get vaccinated every year, even if the composition of the flu vaccine has not changed.

Last updated: 21-03-2023