The U.S. Centers for Disease Control now recommends the vaccination for nearly everyone 6 months or older at the beginning of each flu season. The annual flu vaccine is particularly important for those who are most likely to develop serious and potentially fatal complications from the flu, including anyone 65 or older; people with medical conditions, such as asthma, diabetes and chronic lung disease; pregnant women; and those who live with or provide care for these individuals. For people outside the high-risk groups, the flu vaccine is recommended for two reasons, notes Zachary Rubin, MD, UCLA infectious disease specialist. "You're not only protecting yourself, but you're also making it less likely that you will transmit influenza to those high-risk people in the community," he explains.
What kind of vaccine will be offered this flu season?
For the 2018-2019 season, UCLA Health preordered only inactivated vaccines for shots, mostly prefilled individual syringes of the GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Fluarix quadrivalent vaccine (no latex or thimerosal but traces of egg protein). We ordered some Sanofi High Dose inactivated trivalent vaccine (no latex or thimerosal but traces of egg protein) for those 65 and older, as well as some egg-free recombinant trivalent Flublok vaccine (no latex or thimerosal) for those with egg allergies. The inactivated trivalent vaccines for the 2018-2019 season (northern hemisphere winter) contain:
A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1)pdm09–like virus, an A/Singapore/INFIMH-16-0019/2016 (H3N2)-like virus, and a B/Colorado/06/2017–like virus (Victoria lineage).
Quadrivalent influenza vaccines will contain these three viruses and an additional influenza B vaccine virus, a B/Phuket/3073/2013–like virus (Yamagata lineage).
Learn more about the Flu on the CDC website >
Learn more about the Flu on the LA County Public Health website >
The World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention select the flu viruses for each year’s vaccines based on the circulating flu viruses during the Southern Hemisphere’s flu season, which occurs before the Northern Hemisphere’s flu season.