Had your Flu jab, but what is it really! 

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You should really be interested in what gets injected into your arm?

Chickens play a crucial role in the process of making vaccines and Hens eggs have been used to grow the flu virus since the 1940’s as the provide the right conditions and nutrients.

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.”

Predicting strains

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.


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