The news that the nasal spray form of the influenza vaccine will no longer be available for this year spread quickly. The only option available will be the infamous flu shot. But this should not stop us from getting vaccinated against the flu! This is the opinion of an expert at Baylor College of Medicine’s Influenza Research Center. He warns us to start preparing for the flu season now!
“This year, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Influenza Practices has made the recommendation that the live attenuated vaccine not be utilized this year because data from the last three years suggested it had reduced protection against the influenza virus,” says Dr. Pedro Piedra, professor of molecular virology and microbiology and of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine.
But the ACIP still recommends that everyone over 6 months old get vaccinated. This way, the entire community will be safe from the virus. The best solution is to start preparing for the flu season now! And the best way to keep safe from the influenza virus is to prevent it from manifesting. With a vaccine like this one, every member of the family can have the certainty that they will not be affected. This way, the virus will not be that frequent and it will not spread in an entire small town, for example.
A virus-full year lies ahead!
Doctor Piedra warns us that if the last year wasn’t a very dangerous one, this year that will not be the case. So we should be prepared and start preparing for the flu season now! He thinks that H3N2 will be one of the dominant viruses circulating this year and because of this we will have many people who will contact the flu virus. Another good reason to get the flu shot in time and not let it reach you or any member of your family.
While is true that the H3N2 virus is not that dangerous inside an adult’s body, children on the other hand will most likely contact the virus.
Quadrivalent or trivalent?
This year, the quadrivalent vaccine will have four vaccine strains: H1N1 and H3N2, which are both A strains, and B Victoria and B Yamagata. The trivalent vaccine will have both of the A strains and only one B strain. This is exactly the cause for which doctor Piedra advises us to rather get the quadrivalent vaccine.
Of course there are many types of vaccines available this year. For adults over 65 there is a special, high-dose influenza vaccine which helps strengthen their immune system. This means that seniors will have more protection from the virus.
People with egg-allergies can receive an alternative, egg-free vaccine suited for them. Children between 6 months and 3 years old have their own special vaccine. This vaccine is available at their pediatrician so parents should go ask the doctor right away!
Another interesting discussion involved pregnant women. Doctor Piedra mentioned that it is safe for them to get the flu vaccine this semester. As a matter of fact, mothers will pass their antibodies through the placenta to their unborn baby. This will protect the baby from the flu virus during his/her first six months of life. Amazing isn’t it?
Better safe than sorry! Start preparing for the flu season now!
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