As of February 2010, the CDC Advisory Committee recommends that everyone 6 months and older be vaccinated against the influenza virus. This change was prompted largely by the increased levels of mortality in older children and young healthy adults in the 2009 - 2010 influenza seasons. This is particularly important for certain high risk groups including
It is important for families to realize that people with the influenza virus are contagious for up to 48 hours before they have any symptoms. Children are frequently contagious at school for several days before anyone realizes that they are sick, and they will continue to be contagious for at least 5-7 days after symptoms start. When you are considering what to do for your family, consider not only the possibility of getting sick but also the cost of staying home for at least a full week.
The influenza virus is spread by respiratory droplets both in the air, and after they land on objects, which is why good hand washing is critical to lessening the spread of infection.
The 2012-2013 vaccine will provide protection against 2 separate influenza type A strains: An A/Victoria/361/2011 (H3N2)-like virus AND an A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus. And also 1 influenza type B strain: an B/Wisconsin/1/2010-like virus.
While the H1N1 virus (the swine flu) used to make the 2012-2013 flu vaccine is the same virus that was included in the 2011-2012 vaccine, the recommended influenza H3N2 and B vaccine viruses are different from those in the 2011-2012 influenza vaccine for the Northern Hemisphere.
There are 2 types of flu vaccine available:
The "flu shot" - an inactivated vaccine (containing killed virus particles) that is given with a needle, usually in the arm. The flu shot is approved for use in people older than 6 months, including healthy people and people with chronic medical conditions.
The nasal-spray flu vaccine - a vaccine made with live, weakened flu viruses that is given as a nasal spray (sometimes called LAIV for "Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine"). The viruses in the nasal spray vaccine are designed to not cause the flu. LAIV is approved for use in healthy people 2 through 49 years of age who are not pregnant.
Both forms of vaccine are equally effective, and should provide excellent protection from influenza infection. Certain people including children with Asthma are not candidates to receive the nasal flu vaccine. While it is impossible to get the flu from the flu shot, very rarely people with certain immune disorders can get the flu from the nasal flu vaccine, in addition there are extremely rare cases of transmitting the flu vaccine virus to someone you have close contact with.
If you are an established patient with us you do not need a separate visit just to receive the flu vaccine. We can schedule a nursing appointment to quickly get your vaccine done; we can also vaccinate parents if you let us know ahead of time so that we can plan our schedule accordingly. Feel free to call us with any questions you might have.