With the start of a new school year and the approaching winter, it’s time to get informed about the most critical information regarding the 2016/17 influenza vaccines and CDC’s vaccination recommendations.
- The CDC recommends that everyone aged 6 months or older receive the influenza vaccine by the end of October, yearly. Since influenza virus activity can continue through May, late vaccinations can still be beneficial, but to protect the community in the most salubrious way, timely vaccinations are recommended.
- This season, only injectable influenza vaccines are available. Nasal spray (attenuated vaccine) is no longer recommenced as its efficacy remains unproven.
- Another change related to the guidance for the vaccination of egg-allergic people: people with egg allergies can receive any licensed, recommended, age-appropriate influenza vaccine and no longer have to be monitored for 30 minutes after receiving the vaccine. People who have severe egg allergies should be vaccinated in a medical setting and be supervised by a healthcare provider who is able to recognize and manage severe allergic conditions.
- The recommended influenza vaccines this season include activated injectable vaccines (these vaccines are egg-based, and usually called “the flu shot”) and a recombinant influenza vaccine (this involves the HA protein and does not require chicken eggs in the production process). These vaccines will be available in both trivalent and quadrivalent injectables. Trivalent vaccines are designed to protect against three different influenza viruses, while quadrivalent vaccines protect against those same three plus an additional B virus from a different lineage of influenza B viruses.
- Some children younger than age 9 years will continue to require two doses of influenza vaccine. For children aged 6 months through 8 years who have previously received two or more total doses of trivalent or quadrivalent influenza vaccine before July 1, 2016, only one dose of 2016-2017 seasonal influenza vaccine is needed. The two doses don't need to have been given during the same season or consecutive seasons.
The US 2016/17 vaccine options include the following:
- Afluria® and Fluvirin®. These standard-dose trivalent injectables have been around for decades and are manufactured using viruses grown in eggs. These products are approved for different age groups. Most inactivated injectable influenza vaccines are administered into a muscle with a needle. However, Afluria also can be given with a jet injector to persons 18 years through 64 years.
- Fluzone® High-Dose. This is a high-dose injectable inactivated trivalent vaccine that has four times the amount of antigen as regular-dose vaccines to create a stronger immune response. This is approved for people who are 65 years or 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 influenza vaccine.
- Flublok®. This is an egg –free recombinant trivalent vaccine approved for people 18 and over.
- Fluad™. This inactivated trivalent vaccine is new this season and approved for people 65 years and older. It also contains an MF59 adjuvant to create a stronger immune response to vaccination. This is the first adjuvated seasonal influenza vaccine marketed in the US. In a Canadian observational study of 282 persons aged 65 years and older conducted during the 2011-2012 season, Fluad was 63% more effective than regular-dose unadjuvanted inactivated influenza vaccine.
- Fluarix®, FluLaval®, Fluzone®, and Fluzone® Intradermal. These are quadrivalent inactivated injectable influenza vaccines grown in eggs and manufactured with the same techniques that have been around for decades. They are standard-dose and approved for different age groups down to 6 months of age. Fluzone Intradermal is approved for intradermal administration in people 18 years through 64 years.
- Flucelvax®. This quadrivalent standard-dose cell culture-based vaccine is made by growing viruses in animal cells instead of eggs. This vaccine is approved for people 4 years and older.
The following vaccines are NOT recommended for the 2016/17 influenza season:
- FluMist®. This is a nasal spray vaccine and not recommended.
***It is important to note that the CDC has no preferential recommendation for one vaccine over another.
Contact CDC-INFO at 1-800-CDC-INFO or CDCINFO@cdc.gov if you have any questions about the 2016/17 influenza season.
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