Summary: The Flu vaccine can be administered either as a shot or a nasal spray. But the CDC has warned against the use of the nasal spray for 2016-2017, as this form of vaccination may not be effective. Only the flu shot, also known as Inactivated Influenza Vaccine (IIV) and the recombinant influenza vaccine (RIV) should be used.
You and your family need to protect yourselves every year from the flu. The best way to do this is by getting the annual flu vaccine. Some of the benefits for getting preventive flu vaccine include:
• You’ll reduce the likelihood of flu illnesses
• You will not need hospitalization or doctor’s visits as a result of catching the flu.
• Your normal activities such as school and work will continue as usual.
Some groups are more vulnerable to the flu than others. They include: the elderly, young children, expectant mothers and people suffering from certain medical conditions. When more people get vaccinated, these vulnerable groups are also kept safer.
There are some changes you need to be aware of this flu season:
• Nasal sprays are prohibited by the CDC; only get injectable flu vaccines.
• The composition of flu vaccines has been updated to keep up with the changing nature of flu viruses.
• There are new vaccines in the market.
• There are new vaccination recommendations in place for people suffering from egg allergies
Which flu vaccines will you receive?
As mentioned, only flu shots will be used for vaccination this flu season. Available flu shots are
trivalent (protect against three different flu viruses), or quadrivalent (protect against four viruses).
The trivalent vaccines that will be available this season include:
• A Standard-dose flu vaccine, which is injected into the arm muscle. There’s also one formulation for people aged 18 to 64, that is given into the skin with a jet injector.
• A high-dose vaccine for people aged 65 and above.
• An egg-free recombinant vaccine for people aged 18 and above.
• There’s also a new vaccine this season, made with an ingredient called adjuvant, which provides added immunity to older people aged 65 and over.
Quadrivalent options include:
• A new vaccine made with virus grown in cell culture, for people aged 4 and above.
• A vaccine injected into the skin and not the muscle and is suitable for ages 18 to 64. The needle used for this vaccine is smaller than needles used for the regular flu vaccine.
• Quadrivalent flu vaccines for people of different ages.
When should you go for your vaccination and how often should you get vaccinated?
All people aged 6 months or older should get vaccinated once a year before the end of October. It’s okay to get vaccinated even after October, as vaccinations still continue through the flu season.
Children may need more than one dose depending on their vaccination history. Your health care provider will advise on the number of doses that your child will receive.
I have an egg allergy. Will I still get a flu vaccine?
Yes. Flu vaccine recommendations have been updated for safe vaccination of people with egg allergies:
• If you only experience hives after consumption or exposure to eggs, you can get vaccinated with a licensed flu vaccine that is recommended for your age group.
• If you experience other symptoms such as respiratory distress, feeling lightheaded, angioedema, persistent emesis (nausea and vomiting), or, if you have ever needed epinephrine or other medical interventions, you can get vaccinated with a flu vaccine that is recommended for your age group. The vaccination should be done in a medical setting by a licensed healthcare provider who can manage severe allergic reactions.
It’s no longer necessary to wait 30 minutes after vaccination, if you have an egg allergy.