The 2017-2018 Flu Vaccine – What You Need to Know
As parents begin flocking to the pharmacy in search of over the counter pain reliever, cough medicine and tissue for the common cold, we realize the nearness of the 2017-2018 flu season.
Each year, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) scientists or their partners work to develop a candidate vaccine virus (CVV) for the mass production of the flu vaccine. The CVV composition is adjusted annually to best match the viruses currently circulating the world. The flu vaccine can protect against either three (trivalent) or four (quadrivalent) viruses. The trivalent formula is recommended for people age 5 and up and the quadrivalent for those age 3 and up.
Whether or not you believe it, the flu vaccine has repeatedly shown in studies to be the best defense against the flu. The CDC estimates that the flu affects up to 35.6 million people in the U.S. each year. They also estimate that the flu causes up to 710,000 hospitalizations and up to 56,000 deaths annually. Every year millions of people gamble on not getting the flu. Consider this: the flu is not just about you – if you happen to get the flu every person you come into contact may also get it, including kids, grandkids or even the baby that is out grocery shopping with his mom.
A 2017 study showed that the overall efficacy of the flu vaccine in preventing pediatric death (age six months to 17 years) was 65%.
For the First Time in Flu Vaccine History
For the first time in flu vaccine history, the 2017-2018 flu vaccine is made in a cell-based manufacturing process. Historically, it has been made in an egg-based process. Cell-based vaccines have the potential to provide greater protection than those that are egg-based. This is because growing the virus in eggs can introduce changes that impact the immune response of a human. While it is a first for the flu vaccine, the same cell culture technology is used to produce vaccines for chickenpox, rubella, hepatitis, rotavirus, polio, and smallpox. The cell-based vaccine, Flucelvax is safe for people age 4 and up. More information on the cell-based flu vaccine can be found here.
CDC Recommendations for the 2017-2018 Flu Season
- All people age six months and older receive the flu vaccine.
- Some children between the ages of six months and eight years will need two doses of the flu vaccine for adequate protection. This applies to children receiving the vaccine for the first time or who have only received one dose in their lifetime. Your child’s pediatrician will be able to tell you if your child needs a second dose this year.
- Like last year, the CDC recommends against receiving the nasal spray vaccine (aka FluMist Quadrivalent®) due to concerns about its effectiveness against the influenza A (H1N1) vaccine in both the 2013-2014 and 2015-2016 flu seasons. Instead, an injectable flu vaccine should be administered.
- Pregnant women may receive any licensed and age-appropriate vaccine that is recommended by their provider.
Rainbow Pediatrics will begin offering the 2017-2018 flu vaccine in October. Like previous years, flu clinics will be offered and announced on our Facebook page. If you would like to schedule an appointment for your child’s flu vaccine, please call our office at 910-486-5437 today.
More information from the CDC on the 2017-2018 Flu Vaccine can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/flu-season-2017-2018.htm