THURSDAY, Aug. 18 (HealthDay News) -- The 2011-12 flu vaccine
protects against seasonal flu and H1N1, just like last year's, but
that doesn't mean it's OK to skip your yearly flu shot, researchers
from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warn.
"All people aged 6 months and older should be vaccinated," said Dr. Carolyn Bridges, an associate director for adult immunization at the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.
Protection wanes over the course of a year, so "even people who
got a flu vaccine last year should get one again to make sure they
are optimally protected," she said.
The new recommendations are published in the Aug. 18 issue of
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
The fact that the vaccines are identical does change things
slightly for children aged 6 months to 8 years. In general,
children in this age range should get two doses of the flu shot
administered at least four weeks apart, but they will only need one
dose of the 2011-2012 vaccine if they received at least one dose in
Children in that age range who did not get the flu vaccine last
year need two doses this season.
The vaccine formulation was recommended by the World Health
Organization, and six manufacturers have been chosen to produce and
distribute the vaccines for the United States.
The brand names and manufacturers of the vaccines are: Afluria,
CSL Limited; Fluarix, GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals; FluLaval, ID
Biomedical Corporation; FluMist, MedImmune Vaccines Inc.; Fluvirin,
Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics Limited; and Fluzone, Fluzone
High-Dose and Fluzone Intradermal, Sanofi Pasteur Inc.
New this year is an intradermal flu vaccine, Fluzone
Intradermal, which will be available for adults aged 18 through 64
years. This vaccine is delivered into the skin, rather than the
muscle, using a very small needle, according to the U.S. Food and
Drug Administration, which approved it in May.
Last month, the CDC said the targeted flu strains for 2011-2012
Dr. Lisa Grohskopf, an epidemiologist at the CDC's National
Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, stressed the
importance of getting the 2011-2012 flu vaccine. "If we are looking
on an individual basis, we can't tell how quickly antibodies will
decay after the vaccine, but we do know that immune response will
drop over the course of a year," she said. "You can't count on that
vaccine protecting you for a second season."
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on
2011-2012 flu vaccine.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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