What’s new about the flu vaccine for the 2010-11 flu season? (From CDC website)
All people 6 months and older are now recommended to receive annual influenza vaccination. This is a new and expanded recommendation for this season. In February, 2010, CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted in favor of "universal" influenza vaccination in the United States to protect as many people as possible against the flu.
Will I have to get two flu vaccines again this season?
No. Only one flu vaccine is being made this year and most people will only need to get vaccinated once. There is one exception to this: CDC recommends that children aged 6 months through 8 years of age who have never received a seasonal flu vaccine get two doses of vaccine spaced at least 4 weeks apart.
What viruses will this season’s vaccine protect against?
The flu vaccine is updated every year to combat the flu viruses that research indicates are most likely to cause illness during the upcoming season. The 2010-2011 flu vaccine is being made in the same way as seasonal vaccines have been made for decades. It will protect against the 2009 H1N1 virus that caused so much illness last season, and two other influenza viruses (an H3N2 virus and an influenza B virus). About 2 weeks after vaccination, antibodies that provide protection against influenza virus infection develop in the body.
Even people that got vaccinated with the 2009 H1N1 vaccine or last year’s seasonal vaccine need to be vaccinated with the flu seasonal vaccine this year. This season’s vaccine provides protection against other influenza strains that were not in either the seasonal or the 2009 H1N1 vaccine last season and besides, immunity from a vaccine gotten last year may decline over time.
Should I get the 2010-11 flu vaccine even if I received the 2009 H1N1 vaccine late in the 2009-2010 flu season?
Yes. You need to get the 2010-11 seasonal flu vaccine even if you got the 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine late last season. The flu vaccine is updated each season to provide protection against the three flu viruses that research indicates will cause the most illness. The 2010-11 flu vaccine provides protection against the 2009 H1N1 virus, and 2 additional viruses (an influenza A H3N2 virus and an influenza B virus) that were not included in the 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine. So if you don't get the 2010-11 flu vaccine, you will not be protected against two of the three main flu viruses expected to circulate this flu season. Additionally, immunity wanes over time, so even if you received the 2009 H1N1 vaccine late in the 2009-10 flu season, you may not be protected against the 2009 H1N1 virus for the 2010-11 flu season.
Is there a new type of vaccine available for seniors who are 65 years or older?
Yes. Persons 65 years or older and their providers can choose any of the currently licensed inactivated vaccines, including Fluzone High-Dose, a new vaccine designed specifically for people 65 years and older. For more information, see Questions & Answers Fluzone High–Dose Seasonal Influenza Vaccine.
Are there new groups of people who are considered at higher risk of serious flu complications this season?
Yes. Morbid obesity is a newly recognized medical risk factor for influenza complications based on information from last flu season. Morbid obesity is defined as a Body Mass Index (BMI) >40). Also, last flu season, American Indians and Alaskan Natives were found to be at greater risk of complications from the flu.
Where can I get the flu vaccine?
Flu vaccines have begun shipping from manufacturers and should be available in increasing quantities. Manufacturers project that there will be ample supplies of vaccine and that most vaccine will be distributed by November 2010. You can get the flu vaccine from your health care provider, as well as public clinics. For a list of public locations, please visit: Flu Vaccine Finder.
For additional information please contact 1-800-CDC-INFO or visit www.flu.gov