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Why should people get vaccinated against the flu?

Written by Chronicle Staff. Posted in Featured, Health & Wellness

Published on September 24, 2019 with No Comments

Influenza is a potentially serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Every flu season is different, and influenza infection can affect people differently, but millions of people get the flu every year, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized and thousands or tens of thousands of people die from flu-related causes every year. An annual seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to help protect against flu. Vaccination has been shown to have many benefitsincluding reducing the risk of flu illnesses, hospitalizations and even the risk of flu-related death in children.

How do flu vaccines work?

Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine.

The seasonal flu vaccine protects against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. Traditional flu vaccines (called “trivalent” vaccines) are made to protect against three flu viruses; an influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus, and an influenza B virus. There are also flu vaccines made to protect against four flu viruses (called “quadrivalent” vaccines). These vaccines protect against the same viruses as the trivalent vaccine and an additional B virus.

What kinds of flu vaccines are available?

CDC recommends use of any licensed, age-appropriate influenza (flu) vaccine during the 2019-2020 influenza season. Options include inactivated influenza vaccine [IIV], recombinant influenza vaccine [RIV], or live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV). Different vaccines are licensed for different age groups, and some vaccines are not recommended for some groups of people. But where more than one suitable vaccine is available, no preference is expressed for any influenza flu vaccine over another.

Both trivalent (three-component) and quadrivalent (four-component) flu vaccines will be available for 2019-2020. Most vaccines will be quadrivalent.

Trivalent flu vaccines include:

A high-dose trivalent flu shot, approved for people 65 years and older, which contains a higher dose of antigen (the part of the virus the immune system develops antibodies against), to help create a stronger immune response.

A trivalent flu shot made with adjuvant, (an ingredient that helps create a stronger immune response), approved for people 65 years and older.

Quadrivalent flu vaccines include:

Standard-dose quadrivalent flu shotswithout adjuvant that are manufactured using virus grown in eggs. Several different brands of this type of flu shot are available, and they are approved for different age groups. Some are approved for children as young as 6 months of age. Most flu shots are given in the arm (muscle) with a needle. One quadrivalent flu shot can be given either with a needle (for people aged 6 months and older) or with a jet injector (for people aged 18 through 64 years only).

A quadrivalent cell-based flu shot containing virus grown in cell culture, which is approved for people 4 years and older.

A recombinant quadrivalent flu shot(a flu shot that is made without influenza viruses or eggs) approved for people 18 years and older.

A quadrivalent live attenuated influenza nasal spray vaccine (LAIV4)made with attenuated (weakened) live flu viruses, approved for use in people 2 years through 49 years of age. This vaccine is not recommended for use in pregnancy or for use among people with some specific medical conditions.

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