Influenza 2015

Flu season is here once again and flu vaccine is recommended for everyone 6 months and older in the United States.

Each year thousands of persons are hospitalized with influenza, and many deaths occur from this disease.

Flu vaccine is now available at many physicians’ offices, public health clinics and local pharmacies.

There are several types of injectable vaccines available for this year and a nasal spray vaccine for those in the age group 2-49 years.  The composition of this year’s vaccine is expected to be much more effective against the prevalent strains of influenza virus, than the 2014-15 vaccines which did not include the most prevalent virus types for that season.

Although no vaccine shortage is expected, there are certain groups of patients that should get first priority if a supply problem occurs.

Who Should be Prioritized for Flu Vaccination During a Vaccine Shortage

When vaccine supply is limited, vaccination efforts should focus on delivering vaccination to the following people (no hierarchy is implied by order of listing):

  • Children aged 6 months through 4 years (59 months);
  • People aged 50 years and older;
  • People with chronic pulmonary (including asthma), cardiovascular (except hypertension), renal, hepatic, neurologic, hematologic, or metabolic disorders (including diabetes mellitus);
  • People who are immunosuppressed (including immunosuppression caused by medications or by human immunodeficiency virus);
  • Women who are or will be pregnant during the influenza season;
  • People who are aged 6 months through 18 years and receiving long-term aspirin therapy and who therefore might be at risk for experiencing Reye syndrome after influenza virus infection;
  • People who are residents of nursing homes and other chronic-care facilities;
  • American Indians/Alaska Natives;
  • People who are morbidly obese (body-mass index is 40 or greater);
  • Health-care personnel;
  • Household contacts and caregivers of children younger than 5 years and adults aged 50 years and older, with particular emphasis on vaccinating contacts of children aged younger than 6 months; and
  • Household contacts and caregivers of people with medical conditions that put them at higher risk for severe complications from influenza.

Most counties in California have mandatory flu vaccine or mask requirements for health care workers.

Flu vaccine administration for children less than 9 years of is a little different, in that children from 6 months to 3 years of age get a half-dose of vaccine, and children less than 9 years old who have not received 2 doses of flu vaccine prior to July 1, 2015 need to receive 2 doses of vaccine this season, separated by at least 28 days.

For persons with severe egg allergies, recombinant flu vaccine is available or regular flu vaccine can be used if the physician is experienced in treating severe allergic conditions.

More information of influenza and vaccines is available from the Centers for Disease Control.   go to link:  http://www.cdc.gov/flu/

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