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What’s new for Flu (vaccination) for 2017

Friday, March 3, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: David Waldrep
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What’s new for Flu (vaccination) for 2017

By Sandra Adamson Fryhofer MD 


Flu season continues here in Georgia.   Check out the most recent CDC Weekly US Map: Influenza Summary Update ( 

It is not too late to get vaccinated against flu, but understand:  it takes about 2 weeks to develop protective antibodies.  The flu vaccine is not 100% effective.  If you do get flu, antiviral medications can help you get better more quickly (even if you got the shot)! Flu antivirals work best if started within 48 hours of flu symptoms,  but they can still help if started later.  There are three antivirals available:  oseltamivir (brand name Tamiflu), zanamivir (brand name Relenza), and peramivir (brand name Rapivab).  So far, most flu isolates are Influenza Type A and all tested have been sensitive to available antivirals listed above.

For flu vaccination, for the 2016-2017 season, the “what’s” the same but the “how” has changed!

Everyone 6 months and older still needs flu vaccination every year.  But for the 2016-2017 season, the nasal quadrivalent flu vaccine, LAIV-4, the  live attenuated influenza vaccine, is not recommended.  ACIP says recent studies say it may not be effective.  Check out ACIP’s comprehensive report on seasonal flu vaccination in the August 26, 2016 MMWR for all the details.


But don’t worry; there are plenty of other flu vaccines to choose from:  IIV, the inactivated influenza vaccine, both trivalent  (IIV3)– covering 3 flu strains- and quadrivalent (IIV4)- covering 4 strains.  There’s also the nearly egg- free ccIIV, the cell cultured inactivated vaccine (brand name Flucelvax).  The RIV version, the recombinant influenza vaccine (brand name Flublok) is totally egg free.  Adults age 65 and older have additional choices:  the high dose version (IIV HD), Fluzone High Dose,  and the newer adjuvanted formulation (aIIV), Fluad.


Pregnant women should receive IIV, the inactivated version, only.


There is also good news for anyone who’s allergic to eggs.  Adults with hives only egg allergy can be given any age appropriate IIV or RIV.  This is because the amount of egg protein in the flu vaccines grown in eggs is so miniscule.  The same goes for adults with more serious egg allergy symptoms (including angioedema, respiratory distress, lightheadedness or recurrent vomiting, or a reaction requiring epinephrine).  There is an important stipulation:  it must be given under the supervision of a healthcare provider who is able to recognize and manage severe allergic conditions.


Recommendations for flu vaccination are not all that has changed.  There are changes for other vaccinations as well. Check out ACIP’s new 2017 Adult Immunization.  It has just been released.  It’s published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.  Download your copy at:   

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