flu shots for the 2023-2024 flu season in the United States is now available. But when is the best time to get the vaccine, and who should get it?
Here’s a summary of what you need to know about this season’s flu shots.
Related: Can we eradicate the flu one day?
Who should get the influenza vaccine?
Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu shot every season, with rare exceptions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends..
These exceptions apply to people with severe, life-threatening allergic reactions to certain vaccine components. These potentially allergic ingredients include gelatin, which is used as a stabilizer in some vaccines, and some antibiotics, which prevent bacterial contamination during vaccine manufacture but can remain in very small amounts in some shots after production, according to the FDA. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
The CDC says that people who have had a severe allergic reaction to a flu vaccine should not get the same type of vaccine again and should consult with a doctor about whether to get a different dose. People with a history of Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare paralysis condition in which the immune system attacks nerves, should also consult a doctor before getting a flu shot.
But everyone else can assume they should get a chance. Flu vaccinations are especially important for people who are over 65, under 2 years of age, who are pregnant, or who have recently given birth. says the CDC. Note that Some children from 6 months to 8 years old Two doses of the vaccine are recommended.
When do you get the influenza vaccine?
Most people should get a flu shot in September or October, before the flu starts to spread widely. The CDC advises. in a typical season, Flu cases start to increase in late October and peaks between December and February. Although it is ideal to get a flu shot early in the season, it is better to get it late than not to get it at all.
Related: The flu vaccine is not that effective. That’s why you should still get it.
What types of influenza vaccines are available?
There are nine different flu vaccines available this season, including eight that are injected and one that is sprayed through the nose. All vaccinations Prevention of four subtypes of influenza virusesA(H1N1), A(H3N2), Yamagata influenza B virus and Victoria B influenza virus.
Talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care professional if you have questions about the flu vaccine that is best for you.
Standard dose of inactivated influenza vaccine: Inactivated influenza vaccines contain influenza viruses that have been “killed” so that they can no longer infect cells. It is approved for use by persons 6 months of age and older.
Recombinant flu shots: Recombinant flu shots are made using “recombinant technologyThere is one recombinant vaccine available called Flublok Quadrivalent, and it is approved for use in people 18 years of age and older. It is one of three vaccine options. Especially recommended for people 65 years of age and older.
Nasal spray: The only vaccine available as a nasal spray is called FluMist Quadrivalent. It is a live attenuated vaccine, which means that it contains weakened influenza viruses that cannot cause disease but have not been “killed”, like viruses in inactivated shots. This vaccine is approved for most people ages 2 to 49, but it is not approved for people Pregnant women with weakened immune systems or have certain other conditions.
High dose and adjuvant influenza vaccines: One high-dose influenza vaccine and an adjuvant vaccine, which contains an additional ingredient to boost the immune system, are approved for use in people 65 years of age and older. Along with the recombinant shot, these vaccines are especially recommended for older adults because they are more protective in this age group than standard-dose vaccines. The high-dose shot is called Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent and the adjuvant vaccine is called Fluad Quadrivalent.
What flu vaccine should people with an egg allergy get?
The CDC says people with an egg allergy can get any flu vaccine, egg-based or otherwise, and don’t need a private doctor’s appointment to do so. This advice is based on New directives From the CDC’s Vaccine Advisory Committee that recently reviewed available safety data.
The committee advised that “egg allergy alone does not require additional safety measures for influenza vaccination beyond those recommended for any recipient of any vaccine, regardless of the severity of a previous reaction to eggs.” And all vaccines should be given in settings where allergic reactions can be quickly identified and treated, according to the new guidelines.
When will we know if flu vaccines are “appropriate”?
We usually don’t know if flu vaccines are “right” for the strains circulating until later in the season. In 2022, for example, officials announced this in December Flu vaccines are likely to be a “very good match”. A good match means that the influenza strains included in the vaccines, which have been selected in advance, will end up being genetically similar to the strains that are already making people sick during the 2023-2024 season.
Vaccine makers decide which flu strains to include in next season’s doses by checking which strains are circulating elsewhere in the world. Flu seasons in the northern and southern hemispheres occur at different times, so samples of influenza viruses collected in one hemisphere could provide other clues about what’s to come.
Where can you get the flu vaccine?
Use the The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Vaccine Finder To find flu shot locations in your area.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide medical advice.