Who should get the flu vaccine?
That’s easy… virtually everyone from age six months and up, regardless of pregnancy status. Patients with laboratory confirmed COVID 19 infection, symptomatic or not, should not get the influenza vaccination until they are no longer acutely and do not require isolation. On average about 45% of the United States citizens get their annual flu shot.
Efficacy of last year’s vaccine: was estimated to be 45% with 50% accuracy for the Influenza-B and 37% for Influenza-A
Flu vaccines for our patients over age 65:
- Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent® contains four times the amount of antigen as the standard-dose inactivated flu vaccine, producing better protection in the elderly population. In a NEJM study Fluzone High Dose was found to be 24% more effective in preventing flu in adults 65 years and older relative to a standard-dose vaccine.
- FLUAD® Influenza Vaccine, Adjuvanted: For active immunization of persons 65 years of age and older against influenza disease caused by influenza virus subtypes A and type B contained in the vaccine. (Source: fda.com) Medicare beneficiaries 65 years and older found that trivalent FLUAD provided greater protection against flu-related hospitalizations than standard-dose, egg-based flu vaccine.
Adjuvants are ingredients of a vaccine that elicits a more robust immune response. Adjuvants also can reduce the amount of virus needed for production of a vaccine and still give adequate immune response.
YOUR NICKMAN’S PHARMACIST WANTS YOU TO KNOW:
- During the preparation of inactivated influenza vaccines, the vaccine viruses are made noninfectious (inactivated or killed). Therefore, it cannot cause influenza.
- The flu vaccine is administered intramuscularly by injection.
- The flu vaccine takes two weeks to provide a full immune response.
- The flu vaccine is licensed for use among persons aged >6 months, including those who are healthy, pregnant, and those with chronic medical conditions.
What will this year’s flu season look like?
- Flu season: influenza activity remained at lower levels than expected for this time of the year, though increased detections were reported in some countries. In the temperate zones of the southern hemisphere, the influenza season remained low or below baseline. Despite continued or even increased testing for influenza in some countries in the southern hemisphere, very few influenza detections were reported.
- In the temperate zone of the northern hemisphere, influenza activity remained below inter-seasonal levels. (Source: World Health Organization)
- It appears that all of the mitigation efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 are having a significant impact on influenza spread. Children naturally spread influenza, and with many of them staying at home and attending school virtually, it seems to have impact on the decreased spreading of influenza. Social distancing, wearing face masks, limiting size of gatherings and travel restrictions all have impacted the rates of influenza illness.
Your Nickman’s pharmacist wants you to stay healthy, and there is no better way than to get your annual flu shot. October is the prime time to get your immunization. You need two weeks to build up adequate immunity, so you shouldn’t wait for an outbreak.