Dowd Medical Associates

FLU UPDATE 2018-2019

2018-2019 Flu Season Vaccine Updates

 

Here at Dowd Medical, we believe that all children (and adults) should receive an annual flu vaccine.  This is the best way to prevent influenza infection in each of us and the best way to reduce the spread of this very infectious virus.

This year the FluMist is back and so we have a choice of flu shot or FluMist (FluMist only available for children over 2 years of age and those who don’t have any contraindicated health conditions). 

Here is what you need to know to decide on which vaccine to choose with more detailed information below:

  • Children under age 2 years and those with significant medical conditions that affect the heart, the lungs or the immune system CAN NOT get any FluMist.
  • The FluMist has been updated to address the previous concern of weaker coverage.
  • The actual effectiveness of this updated FluMist is NOT YET KNOWN.
  • One advisory group has no preference for which vaccine (mist or shot) eligible children should receive.
  • Another advisory group is recommending a preference for the flu shot over the FluMist.

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More detailed information:

Flu Vaccines protect against 4 strains of Influenza Infection:

            2 Influenza A Strains:  A(H1N1) and A (H3N2)

            2 Influenza B Strains

During the 2016–17 and 2017–18 influenza seasons, the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommended that FluMist not be used due to concerns about lower effectiveness against influenza A(H1N1) - one of the 4 strains covered in all flu vaccines.  In the past two flu seasons, however, Influenza A (H3N2) was the predominating circulating influenza A strain and past FluMist vaccines were as effective as the flu shot against Influenza A (H3N2) viral strains. (Of note FluMist was slightly more effective against Influenza B strains in prior seasons than the Flu shot).

Every year data from the previous flu season is reviewed in preparation for the upcoming flu season. For the 2018-19 flu season, an updated FluMist WILL BE an available option for influenza coverage. The new FluMist contains improved coverage against influenza A (H1N1) and continues its previous coverage of Influenza A (H3N2) and two Influenza B strains.

Therefore, there is, again, a choice of influenza vaccine: “Flu Shot” or “FluMist”.

However, the actual effectiveness of this updated FluMist is not yet known.

The AAP  (American Academy of Pediatrics), therefore recommends that

the “Flu Shot” be preferred over the “FluMist” but encourages all patients to get vaccinated with either vaccine as age and health status allow.

The CDC/ACIP has expressed no preference for any influenza vaccine product.

The CDC/ACIP will continue to review data concerning the effectiveness of this year’s FluMist, throughout the flu season.

As has been true in past years only those patients over age 2 years and who do not have any of the contraindicated health conditions, can consider getting the FluMist.

To Summarize the above:

 

Flu Shot

Past FluMist

2018-2019 Updated FluMist

A (H1N1)

Better than past FluMists

weaker coverage

updated  coverage but not yet proven

A (H3N2)

same as FluMist

same as flu shot

same as past FluMist

B strain 1

decent coverage

better than flu shot

same as past FluMist

B strain 2

decent coverage

better than flu shot

same as past FluMist

 

 

 

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