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General Health : Government Last Updated: Apr 20, 2011 - 9:38:09 AM

Flu vaccine: recommendation changes for 2008-2009 season
Sep 28, 2008 - 9:34:50 AM

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Do you know vitami.n C can lower bloo.d pressur.e? Editor's note: The following is what you need to know about CDC flu recommendation and some basics about flu. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommends that children ages 6 months to 18 years get flu shot each year.

from CDC:

Primary Changes and Updates in the 2008 ACIP Recommendations

The 2008 recommendations include five principal changes or updates:

  • Beginning with the 2008--09 influenza season, annual vaccination of all children aged 5--18 years is recommended. Annual vaccination of all children aged 5--18 years should begin in September or as soon as vaccine is available for the 2008--09 influenza season, if feasible, but annual vaccination of all children aged 5--18 years should begin no later than during the 2009--10 influenza season.
  • Annual vaccination of all children aged 6 months--4 years (59 months) and older children with conditions that place them at increased risk for complications from influenza should continue. Children and adolescents at high risk for influenza complications should continue to be a focus of vaccination efforts as providers and programs transition to routinely vaccinating all children.
  • Either TIV or LAIV can be used when vaccinating healthy persons aged 2--49 years. Children aged 6 months--8 years should receive 2 doses of vaccine if they have not been vaccinated previously at any time with either LAIV or TIV (doses separated by 4 or more weeks); 2 doses are required for protection in these children. Children aged 6 months--8 years who received only 1 dose in their first year of vaccination should receive 2 doses the following year. LAIV should not be administered to children aged <5 years with possible reactive airways disease, such as those who have had recurrent wheezing or a recent wheezing episode. Children with possible reactive airways disease, persons at higher risk for influenza complications because of underlying medical conditions, children aged 6--23 months, and persons aged >49 years should receive TIV.
  • The 2008--09 trivalent vaccine virus strains are A/Brisbane/59/2007 (H1N1)-like, A/Brisbane/10/2007 (H3N2)-like, and B/Florida/4/2006-like antigens.

Oseltamivir-resistant influenza A (H1N1) strains have been identified in the United States and some other countries. However, oseltamivir or zanamivir continue to be the recommended antivirals for treatment of influenza because other influenza virus strains remain sensitive to oseltamivir, and resistance levels to other antiviral medications remain high.


Common Questions and Answers for flu


What is Influenza (Also Called Flu)?


The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccination each year.


Every year in the United States, on average:


    * 5% to 20% of the population gets the flu;

    * more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu complications; and

    * about 36,000 people die from flu.


Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), are at high risk for serious flu complications.


What are the symptoms of flu?


Symptoms of flu include:


    * fever (usually high)

    * headache

    * extreme tiredness

    * dry cough

    * sore throat

    * runny or stuffy nose

    * muscle aches

    * Stomach symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, also can occur but are more common in children than adults


What are complications of flu?


Complications of flu can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, dehydration, and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes.


How does flu spread?


Flu viruses spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing of people with influenza. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose. Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 days after becoming sick. That means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick.


How can flu be prevented?


The single best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccination each year. There are two types of vaccines:


    * The "flu shot" – an inactivated vaccine (containing killed virus) that is given with a needle. The flu shot is approved for use in people 6 months of age and older, including healthy people and people with chronic medical conditions.

    * The nasal-spray flu vaccine – a vaccine made with live, weakened flu viruses that do not cause the flu (sometimes called LAIV for “Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine”). LAIV is approved for use in healthy* people 2-49 years of age who are not pregnant.


About two weeks after vaccination, antibodies develop that protect against influenza virus infection. Flu vaccines will not protect against flu-like illnesses caused by non-influenza viruses.


When should a person get flu shots?


Yearly flu vaccinations should begin in September or as soon as vaccine is available and continue throughout the influenza season, into December, January, and beyond. This is because the timing and duration of influenza seasons vary. While influenza outbreaks can happen as early as October, most of the time influenza activity peaks in January or later.  


Who should get flu immunization?


In general, anyone who wants to reduce their chances of getting the flu can get vaccinated. However, certain people should get vaccinated each year either because they are at high risk of having serious flu-related complications or because they live with or care for high risk persons. During flu seasons when vaccine supplies are limited or delayed, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) makes recommendations regarding priority groups for vaccination.


People who should get vaccinated each year are:


   1. Children aged 6 months up to their 19th birthday

   2. Pregnant women

   3. People 50 years of age and older

   4. People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions

   5. People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities

   6. People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including:

            a.    Health care workers

            b.    Household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu

            c.    Household contacts and out of home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated)


Who can use the nasal spray flu vaccine?


Vaccination with the nasal-spray flu vaccine is an option for healthy* people 2-49 years of age who are not pregnant, even healthy persons who live with or care for those in a high risk group. The one exception is healthy persons who care for persons with severely weakened immune systems who require a protected environment; these healthy persons should get the inactivated vaccine.


Who should not be vaccinated?


Some people should not be vaccinated without first consulting a physician. They include:


    * People who have a severe allergy to chicken eggs.

    * People who have had a severe reaction to an influenza vaccination in the past.

    * People who developed Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) within 6 weeks of getting an influenza vaccine previously.

    * Children less than 6 months of age (influenza vaccine is not approved for use in this age group).

    * People who have a moderate or severe illness with a fever should wait to get vaccinated until their symptoms lessen.


If you have questions about whether you should get a flu vaccine, consult your health-care provider.


How effective can a flu vaccine be?


Vaccine Effectiveness


The ability of flu vaccine to protect a person depends on the age and health status of the person getting the vaccine, and the similarity or "match" between the virus strains in the vaccine and those in circulation. Testing has shown that both the flu shot and the nasal-spray vaccine are effective at preventing the flu.


( Editor’s note: Normally the effectiveness may not exceed 45 percent.  But it depends on the definition. Health officials have said even if the vaccine can’t completely prevent flu, recipients would still be better off.   Flu viruses are mutating constantly and that is why you need to get flu vaccines each year.)


What are the common side effects of flu vaccines?



Different side effects can be associated with the flu shot and LAIV.


The flu shot: The viruses in the flu shot are killed (inactivated), so you cannot get the flu from a flu shot. Some minor side effects that could occur are


    * Soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given

    * Fever (low grade)

    * Aches


If these problems occur, they begin soon after the shot and usually last 1 to 2 days. Almost all people who receive influenza vaccine have no serious problems from it. However, on rare occasions, flu vaccination can cause serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions. As of July 1, 2005, people who think that they have been injured by the flu shot can file a claim for compensation from the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP).


LAIV (FluMist®): The viruses in the nasal-spray vaccine are weakened and do not cause severe symptoms often associated with influenza illness. (In clinical studies, transmission of vaccine viruses to close contacts has occurred only rarely.)


In children, side effects from LAIV (FluMist®) can include


    * runny nose

    * wheezing

    * headache

    * vomiting

    * muscle aches

    * fever


In adults, side effects from LAIV (FluMist®) can include


    * runny nose

    * headache

    * sore throat

    * cough


What viruses cause flu?


There are three types of influenza viruses: A, B and C. Influenza A and B viruses cause seasonal epidemics of disease almost every winter in the United States. Influenza type C infections cause a mild respiratory illness and are not thought to cause epidemics.


Influenza A viruses are divided into subtypes based on two proteins on the surface of the virus: the hemagglutinin (H) and the neuraminidase (N). There are 16 different hemagglutinin subtypes and 9 different neuraminidase subtypes, Influenza A viruses can be further broken down into different strains. The current subtypes of influenza A viruses found in people are A (H1N1) and A (H3N2).


Influenza B viruses are not divided into subtypes. Influenza B viruses also can be further broken down into different strains.


Influenza A (H1N1), A (H3N2), and influenza B strains are included in each year's influenza vaccine. Getting a flu vaccine can protect against influenza A and B viruses. The flu vaccine does not protect against influenza C viruses.

© 2004-2008 by unless otherwise specified

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