WHICH FLU VACCINE SHOULD I GET THIS YEAR?
There are two basic types of vaccines; the old standard “shot” – Inactivated Influenza Vaccine – (IIV or TIV/QIV) and Intranasal Live Attenuated Vaccine –( LAIV), the nasal spray.
The flu vaccine (IIV) was first developed in the 1930’s and became widely available for the general population by 1945.
Influenza virus changes every year, and the strains that are the most active, or cause the most disease vary from year to year. Every year scientists from over 100 countries convene at the WHO (World Health Organization) and determine which strains they think will be the most active that year.
There are 3 common influenza viruses that are developed for the flu vaccine. Type A (H3N2) is the most common. It causes high fever cough, body aches, sore throat, pneumonia, and even death. Type B is less common. It causes fever, cough, sore throat, nausea, and occasionally vomiting. Some people feel it is less severe. H1N1 or “swine flu” is much less common, but some feel more severe. It causes high fever, body aches, pneumonia, severe disease and death.
Typically, the scientists from the WHO will recommend one or two type A flu and 1 or 2 type B flu, as well as H1N1 – “swine flu” for that year’s vaccine. The vaccine manufacturers then take their recommendations and begin to make vaccine. It is a complicated process, and sometimes the vaccines don’t develop as effectively as expected and they must start over. This can delay production of the vaccine until later in the flu season.
When considering which vaccine to receive you should consider these things:
|IIV||Can be given to immunocompromised||requires a "shot"|
No "shot" needed
Live vaccine should not be given to immunocompromised individuals
You should also consider which vaccine has been the most effective in previous years and who recommends it:
|Type A||Type B||H1N1|
|LAIV- nasal||Good||Better||Good ??|
LAIV recommended by CDC, ACIP, 2nd choice of AAP; IIV recommended by CDC, ACIP, and AAP
(There were not enough cases of H1N1 to prove the efficacy of the LAIV vaccine last year, but it looked good)
Who should get the flu vaccine this year?
Everyone over the age of 6 months. Especially children, elderly, those with health conditions or lung conditions and those that work with these poplulations. If you have more questions - just as us!