Time to Talk about Flu Vaccines

There are new recommendations about flu vaccination this year. The biggest change is that flu vaccines are now recommended six months of age or older (in the absence of medical contraindication). There is no preference given to the intranasal or the injection form, for healthy, non-pregnant persons age 2-49 .Children from 6 months to 8 years of age will again require two doses of influenza vaccine, unless they received at least 1 dose of H1N1 vaccine during the 2009-2010 season and two doses of seasonal influenza vaccine (either both last year or in two different years).

The 2010-2011 seasonal influenza vaccine is already available. We received our shipment 2 weeks ago. It contains three strains – the 2009H1N1 antigen is the same as the H1N1 vaccine from last year, the H3N2 is a new antigen and the influenza B strain was in last year’s seasonal vaccine. Persons with a history of influenza or vaccination last year should be encouraged to get the vaccine again this year, due to the natural waning of the antibody response and the added protection of the new antigen in this year’s vaccine. It is not too early to begin vaccinating now, since we do not know if the season will peak early, as it did last year (at the end of October).

There is also a newly approved high-dose influenza vaccine for persons 65 years of age (Fluzone High-Dose). It is an alternate inactivated vaccine and it contains four times as much hemagglutinin antigen as the standard dose vaccine and is more costly. Neither CDC nor ACIP is expressing a preference of one vaccine over another for this age group at this time.

Call us today at 603-528-4304 for your flu shot.


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