New 4-in-1 Flu Shot: Does it Work?

Wednesday, 25 Sep 2013 09:56 AM

By Nick Tate

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
Big changes are in store for this year's flu vaccine, with federal health experts saying that protecting yourself from influenza has never been easier.

For the first time, new 4-in-1 vaccines and nasal sprays will offer protection against four different strains of influenza virus — one more than the traditional 3-in-1 shots. In addition, vaccine makers are rolling out a new shot for people who are allergic to eggs and, for the second year, a "micro-needle" version delivered with just a skin prick instead of a hypodermic needle.
 
Editor’s Note: 3 Secrets to Never Get Sick Again. Get Super Immunity for Only $4.95. Click here.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, manufacturers have already begun making and shipping nearly 140 million doses of vaccine for this year's flu season.

"Getting vaccinated against influenza is the safest, best-possible way to protect you and your family," says Anne Schuchat, M.D., director of the CDC's National Center for Immunizations and Respiratory Diseases.

With that in mind, here are some key questions and answers about the new vaccines and the upcoming flu season.
 
Who should get the flu vaccine?

CDC recommends everyone 6 months of age and older get vaccinated, but only about 4 in 10 Americans get a flu shot each year. Up to 20 percent of U.S. residents get the flu, which can cause serious complications and even death among seniors and people with pre-existing health conditions.
 
While vaccines don't offer 100 percent protection against the flu, federal health officials argue that vaccination is the best way to reduce the odds of getting seasonal flu and spreading it to others.

Is the new 4-in-1 vaccine better?

Flu vaccines have historically offered protection against three kinds of viruses — two strains of Type A viruses and one strain of Type B. But this year, a new "quadrivalent" vaccine will offer protection against a second strain of Type B virus. Type A viruses cause the most severe flu symptoms, but children are especially vulnerable to Type B strains.
 
Manufacturers estimate 135-139 million doses of flu vaccine will be produced for this season. Up to 32 million doses will be quadrivalent, including nearly 15 million doses of nasal spray vaccine, costs more than traditional shots.
 
CDC spokesman Jason McDonald says the agency does not recommend the quadrivalent vaccine over the 3-in-1 shot and, because it is new, scientists don't know if it is more effective in preventing influenza.
 
"There is no data yet to indicate that quadrivalent vaccines will be more effective. That is something we at CDC will monitor as the flu season progresses," he tells Newsmax Health. "We encourage everyone over the age of 6 months to get vaccinated; whether that is trivalent [3-in-1] or quadrivalent vaccine, the most important thing is to get vaccinated."
 
The Food and Drug Administration has approved four types of 4-in-1 vaccines for the 2013-14 season:
  • FluMist: Nasal spray produced by MedImmune Vaccines Inc., for people 2 to 49 years of age.
  • Fluarix: Manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals for individuals 3 years of age and older.
  • Fluzone: Made by Sanofi Pasteur Inc. for those 6 months of age and older.
  • FluLaval: Produced by ID Biomedical Corp. for people 3 years of age and older.
Is the quadrivalent flu vaccine safe?

Yes, federal health officials say, noting 4-in-1 vaccines are made the same way as those that have been around for decades. Studies have shown that hundreds of millions of people have safely received flu vaccines. Experts also note flu vaccines cannot cause influenza infection or illness because the viruses used to make it are "inactivated" and are not infectious.

But health experts say some people should not get a 4-in-1 flu vaccine without consulting a physician:
  • Those who have had a severe reaction to an influenza vaccination.
  • Children younger than 6 months of age.
  • People with moderate-to-severe illnesses (they should wait until they recover to get vaccinated.)
  • People with a history of Guillain-BarrĂ© Syndrome that occurred after receiving influenza vaccine and who are not at risk for severe illness from influenza.
What other flu vaccine options are available this year?

Several new influenza vaccination options are available this year, in addition to the long-standard trivalent shot (for people ages 6 months and up), but may be in shorter supply in some areas. They include:
  • Fluzone High-Dose vaccine: A trivalent shot recommended primarily for older people to give them a quick boost in immune response and protection.
  • Fluzone Intradermal vaccine: For people who hate needles, this shot (which debuted last year) uses a "micro-needle" instead of a syringe to inject vaccine into the skin rather than the muscle.
  • Recombinant influenza vaccine: A new vaccine, called FluBlok, is grown in cell cultures instead of chicken eggs (the standard method for 50 years) eggs and will provide an option for people with serious egg allergies, aged 18 to 49.
Can the flu vaccine cause side effects?

Yes, the vaccine can cause reactions, but experts say they are rare and usually mild. They typically begin soon after getting the vaccine and include: soreness or redness at the injection site, fainting, headaches, fever, nausea, runny nose, wheezing, and muscle aches.
 
Editor’s Note: 3 Secrets to Never Get Sick Again. Get Super Immunity for Only $4.95. Click here.

Rare, more serious side effects usually begin minutes or hours after receiving the shot and can include: difficulty breathing, hoarseness, swelling around the eyes or lips, hives, racing heart, dizziness, behavior changes, and high fever. Anyone having such reactions should seek medical attention immediately.
 
How effective is the flu vaccine?

It varies season to season. The reason: Each year scientists predict which strains of the virus are likely to be common in the year ahead, based on virus samples taken from around the world. The FDA then recommends which strains should be included in vaccine formulations manufacturers produce.
 
But it is not always possible to predict which strains will be common, and viral strains can evolve and change within the course of a single season.
 
Where can you get the vaccine?

Pharmacies and doctors' offices typically have the most supplies, but many county health departments and employers also typically schedule flu shot clinics starting in October.

Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid and Wegmans offer flu shots on a walk-in basis with no appointment necessary. Maxim Health Systems offers an online resource — www.findaflushot.com — to identify places close to you that will provide a vaccine.
 
Walgreens said this week its pharmacies will offer the standard flu vaccine, as well as FluMist, the high-dose Fluzone shot for those over age 65, the Fluarix 4-in-1 vaccine and a cell-based vaccine.
 
While the flu season peaks in January or February, early vaccination is your best defense because it can take two weeks for the vaccine to provide full protection. During that two-week period, after getting a shot, you can catch the flu — which is one reason many people falsely believe getting a flu shot gave them influenza.
 
For more information: Visit flu.gov: Flu.gov: consumer site for flu information
 
 

© 2014 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Comments
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Retype Email:
Country
Zip Code:
 
Find Your Condition
You May Also Like
Around the Web
Most Commented

The information presented on this website is not intended as specific medical advice and is not a substitute for professional medical treatment or diagnosis. Read Newsmax Terms and Conditions of Service.

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAXHEALTH.COM
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved