September 18, 2019
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its annual recommendations for flu shots this influenza season, including an expanded age recommendation for two vaccines.
Recommendations for getting flu shots change every year regarding timing of vaccination, considerations for special populations, precautions, and the use of specific vaccines.
Here's what the CDC is saying about this year's flu season.
Each year the flu vaccine is changed to protect against the three or four viruses that health officials will be most common in the upcoming flu season. This year, the trivalent flu shot, which protects against three strains of the influenza virus, will help people's immune systems to produce antibodies for the following viruses:
• A/Brisbane/02/2018 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus (updated)
• A/Kansas/14/2017 (H3N2)-like virus (updated)
• B/Colorado/06/2017-like (Victoria lineage) virus
The quadrivalent vaccine, inoculating against four strains, includes those and adds the following protection:
• B/Phuket/3073/2013-like (Yamagata lineage) virus
You can read more about the changed components here.
This flu season, children ages 6 months through 8 years old who require two doses of the vaccine should receive their first dose as soon as it's available and receive the second no later than the end of October. For those who require only one dose, receiving the vaccine too early – for example anyone who already received a vaccination in July or August – could see a loss of immunity before the end of influenza season. That particularly applies to older adults.
The CDC states, "Community vaccination programs should balance maximizing likelihood of persistence of vaccine-induced protection through the season with avoiding missed opportunities to vaccinate or vaccinating after onset of influenza circulation occurs."
Children ages 6 months and older who do not have contraindications should be vaccinated annually. In October 2018, the FDA approved an expanded age indication for the Afluria Quadrivalent vaccine, which was previously licensed for people ages 5 years or older. Now, the vaccine is licensed for those 6 months and older.
The dose volume is.25 mL per dose for children ages 6 through 35 months and .5 mL per dose for all persons between 36 months to 3 years.
In addition, in January 2019, the FDA approved a change in dose volume for the Fluzone Quadrivalent vaccine. Previously, the dose volume for children ages 6 through 35 months was 0.25 mL. Now, children ages 6 through 35 months who receive Fluzone Quadrivalent may receive either .25 mL, for children between 36 months and 3 years, or 0.5 mL per dose.
For more information regarding flu shots and vaccinations during influenza season, click here.
Manufacturers are predicting to provide between 162 million and 169 million doses of vaccine for the U.S. market, according to the CDC. Projections may change as the season progresses.