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2016-2017 Flu Season

What’s New to Prevent Flu?

The CDC released their recommendations for the 2016-2017 season. There are a few big changes: the CDC is not recommending the use of the approved quadrivalent live attenuated influenza vaccine (i.e. nasal spray or FluMist) due to concerns about effectiveness and patients with egg allergies no longer need to be monitored.

There are plenty of different inactivated vaccines to choose from. The CDC emphasized that they have no preferential recommendation for one influenza vaccine product over another for persons for whom more than one licensed, recommended product is otherwise appropriate. All the vaccines composition have been updated to better match more recently circulating influenza viruses.

• Both trivalent and quadrivalent injectable vaccines will be available this season. Trivalent vaccines are designed to protect against three different influenza viruses while quadrivalent vaccines protect against the same three viruses, plus an additional B virus.
• A high-dose injectable inactivated trivalent influenza vaccine called Fluzone® High-Dose will also be available. This vaccine is approved for people aged 65 years and older. Results from a clinical trial showed that adults aged 65 years and older who received the high-dose vaccine had 24% fewer influenza infections compared with those who received a standard-dose vaccine.
• There is also a vaccine available for those with allergies to eggs. Flublok®, an egg-free trivalent vaccine, is approved for people aged 18 years old and older.
• There is a new trivalent influenza vaccine made using adjuvant approved for people aged 65 years and older. Adjuvants are added to vaccines to create stronger immune response to vaccination. The vaccine is called Fluad™. A Canadian study of persons aged 65 years and older found that Fluad was 63% more effective than regular-dose unadjuvanted inactivated influenza vaccine.
• There are four quadrivalent inactivated injectable influenza vaccines: Fluarix®, FluLaval®, Fluzone®, and Fluzone® intradermal. These are approved for different age groups down to 6 months of age. There is also a quadrivalent standard-dose cell culture-based vaccine called Flucelvax®. Cell-based flu vaccines are made by growing viruses in animal cells instead of eggs. Flucelvax is approved for people aged 4 years and older.
• People with egg allergies no longer need to be observed for 30 minutes postvaccination for an allergic reaction, but providers should consider observing all patients for 15 minutes.
• People with a history of severe allergic reaction to egg should be vaccinated under the supervision of a health care provider who is able to recognize and manage severe allergic conditions.


Byline: Martha L. Sikes, MS, RPh, PA-C

Posted: October 3, 2016

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Adapted from the original article.

[Image: Pixabay / Mojpe]

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