New Choices For Seasonal Flu Vaccines

WebMD Health News By Brenda Goodman, MA Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD Sept. 17, 2013 — It’s fall. The kids are back at school, college football rivalries are in high gear, and — oh, yeah — it’s time to get a flu vaccine. In the past, flu protection basically boiled down to a choice between a shot or a sniff of a nasal spray. But this year there are new options. Some may protect you from additional strains of flu, while others make getting vaccinated a little easier. Read on to find out which may be best for you and your family. Trivalent Vaccines These are the traditional flu shots. They prime the immune system to fight three strains of flu viruses, two “A” strains and one “B” strain. Each year, the FDA updates the recipe to include the kinds of flu they think will be most likely to make people sick during the coming season. “They do a pretty good job of predicting what’s going to be circulating” for the A strains, says Michael Brady, MD. He is an infectious disease specialist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio. The B strains, though, are harder to forecast. The FDA picks the right B strain about two-thirds of the time, Brady says. It’s too early to tell whether the FDA nailed the flu shot formula this year. When it’s a close match, a flu shot can cut by more than half the chances that a person will need medical care for the flu, according to the CDC. Quadrivalent Vaccines The ...
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