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Options for the flu vaccine

Options for the flu vaccine

It used to be that if you wanted to protect yourself from the flu, you just got a flu shot.

Now, there are so many flu vaccination options that you might feel like ordering from a menu.

Do you want a nasal spray or an injection? Do you want an injection in your arm or leg? Want to try the new intradermal flu vaccine that comes with a pre-filled syringe for microinjection?

The flu vaccine

It is impossible to make predictions in advance about a flu season.

Will it be a mild flu season?

Will there be a shortage of flu vaccines?

The only thing we know at the moment is that the flu vaccine is already available in most clinics and medical offices. Pediatrician and that between 171 and 179 million doses should be available this year.

Options for children

Although there are many more options this year when thinking about what flu vaccine to give, parents will not have to worry as much about them, at least not when thinking about what flu vaccine to get for their children. their.

Influenza vaccine options for children have recently changed. Children can now receive quadrivalent flu vaccines, which protect against four strains of the flu, instead of the older flu vaccines, which only provided protection against three flu strains.

So now kids can get:

  • A trivalent flu injection from a thimerosal-free pre-filled syringe (Fluzone, Fluarix, Afluria, Fluvirin)
  • A quadrivalent influenza vaccine from a thimerosal-free pre-filled syringe (Fluzone, Fluarix)
  • A trivalent influenza vaccine in a multidose vial with thimerosal (Afluria, Fluzone, Fluvirin, FluLaval)
  • A quadrivalent influenza vaccine in a multidose vial with thimerosal (FluLaval)
  • nasal spray FluMist tetravalent

While multidose vaccine vials are still in production, at least 105 million doses of the flu vaccine given this year are free of thimerosal or preservatives (with a small amount of thimerosal).

However, you will most likely choose between a flu vaccine and FluMist when you visit your pediatrician. They are unlikely to have trivalent and quadrivalent forms of the flu vaccine in their office.

Delays in vaccines against The flu and lack of cases, especially for FluMist, may limit your options this year, but it shouldn’t stop you from getting a flu shot.

And remember that although all children at least six months old can be vaccinated against the flu, you must be at least two years old and have no chronic medical problems, such as asthma, diabetes, or immune system problems, to first FluMist. .

While you now have a few options for the flu shot to get, you don’t have many options for where to vaccinate your children. Infants and young children should generally be vaccinated against influenza in the anterolateral part of the thigh muscle, while older children and adolescents should be given it in the upper arm, in the deltoid muscle.

note that FluMist will not be available for the 2016-17 flu season due to «data showing poor or relatively low effectiveness of LAIV in 2013-2016».

Options for adults

Adults have more options for the flu vaccine this year.

In addition to the usual flu vaccine, either trivalent or quadrivalent, they may receive:

  • FluZone Intradermic , which contains less antigen than the flu vaccine and is injected under the skin with a small, fine needle, unlike the usual flu vaccine, which is injected into a muscle. It can be given to adults between the ages of 18 and 64. It can be useful for adults who don’t like needles, but can’t or don’t want to use FluMist.
  • Fluzone in high dose , which contains much more antigen from the flu vaccine than a regular flu vaccine and can be given to older people who are at least 65 years old. The higher dose of antigen is expected to stimulate a better immune response against the flu in the elderly, who may have a weaker immune system.
  • FluBlok A recombinant egg-free flu vaccine, which is not made from chicken eggs or the flu virus, but from insect cells.
  • Flucelvax : a new influenza vaccine that is given in cells of cultured animals, rather than in chicken eggs.

However, none of these new flu vaccines are available for children or adolescents.