Shots for the season
Influenza vaccine expected to be a better match for predicted strains.
There’s no season quite like flu season. While most people don’t care for shots, nobody wants to be sick from the flu.
Organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommend that everyone get an annual flu vaccination, the reasoning being, the viruses that cause influenza change from year to year.
According to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI), the WHO and FDA make recommendations in February about which influenza virus strains will be included in the fall vaccination.
The specific strains that go into each vaccine are chosen in an effort to match the most common viruses occurring around the world. Sometimes, the virus can change in the period of time it takes to create a vaccine, making the flu shot less effective, which is what happened in 2015.
Statistics from AAAAI show each year that nearly 300,000 people are hospitalized and more than 20,000 die due to the flu. Many people avoid getting vaccinated, afraid they’ll catch the flu from the shot. But the CDC says the viruses used in the vaccine are killed or altered in a way that prevents them from actually causing illness.
According to the CDC, all of the 2015-2016 influenza vaccine is made to protect against the following three viruses:
- + an A/California/7/2009
- + an A/Switzerland/9715293/2013
- + a B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus.
(This is a B/Yamagata lineage virus)
Some of the 2015-2016 flu vaccine is quadrivalent (four-component) vaccine which protects against an additional B virus (B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus). Vaccines that protect against three viruses are called trivalent vaccines. All high-dose vaccines currently available are trivalent.
A number of different private sector vaccine manufacturers produce the flu vaccine for use in the United States. Different routes of administration are available for flu vaccines, including intramuscular, intradermal, jet injector and nasal spray vaccine.
- + Intramuscular (IM) vaccines are available in
both trivalent and quadrivalent formulations
- + For people who are 18 through 64 years old,
a jet injector can be used for delivery of one
particular trivalent flu vaccine
- + Nasal spray vaccines are quadrivalent
In addition to getting a seasonal flu vaccine, you can take everyday preventive actions, like staying away from sick people and washing your hands to reduce the spread of germs. If you have flu-like symptoms (body aches, fever), it’s recommended you stay home from work or school to prevent spreading flu to others.
Children younger than 6 months are at higher risk of serious flu complications but are too young to get a flu vaccine. Because of this, safeguarding them from flu is especially important. If you live with or care for an infant younger than 6 months of age, you should get a flu vaccine to help protect them from infection.
Talk to your doctor or Sam’s Club Pharmacist about vaccination availability and take an active role in protecting you and your family from infection this season.