What’s new with the flu vaccine this year?

What’s new with the flu vaccine this year?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted that the live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV), also known as the “nasal spray” flu vaccine, should not be used during the 2016-2017 flu season. Every year the CDC studies the effectiveness of the flu vaccine administered during the previous year. Data on the “nasal spray” vaccine among children 2 to 17 years of age was measured at an estimated 3 percent effectiveness. This percentage means there is minimal protective benefit in receiving the “nasal spray.” In comparison, the “flu shot” had an estimated vaccine effectiveness of 63 percent.

What does this mean to me? The “nasal spray” flu vaccine will not be offered to children or adults this flu season. However, the CDC continues to recommend a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older, as it is the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease.

Each year, scientists use laboratory samples and global surveillance to identify which types or strains of influenza viruses are likely to be circulating during the following influenza season. Flu viruses are constantly changing so it’s not unusual for new flu viruses to appear each year.

For the 2016-2017 flu season (Northern Hemisphere winter), trivalent vaccines are recommended to contain:

A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus

A/Hong Kong/4801/2014 (H3N2)-like virus

B/Brisbane/60/2008 (B/Victoria lineage)-like virus

Quadrivalent vaccines will include the same viruses plus an additional flu B virus called B/Phuket/3073/2013 (B/Yamagata lineage)-like virus.

How effective was last year’s flu vaccine?

The CDC correctly predicted the viral strains that were encountered last year. The 2016-17 trivalent and quadrivalent vaccines should be equally effective against the viral strains encountered this upcoming flu season. 

For more information about the vaccine or where to get vaccinated, please contact Douglas Pierson, Community Health Element Chief at 801-586-9768.

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