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 2016-17 season we preordered only inactivated vaccines for shots, mostly prefilled individual syringes of GSK Fluarix quadrivalent vaccine (no latex or thimerosal but traces of egg protein). We ordered some Sanofi High Dose trivalent vaccine (no latex or thimerosal but traces of egg protein) for employees 65 and older, and some egg free recombinant trivalent Flublok vaccine (no latex or thimerosal) for those with egg allergies. The inactivated trivalent vaccines for the 2016-2017 season (northern hemisphere winter) contain:
The quadrivalent vaccines will include the same inactivated viruses as above plus an additional flu B virus called B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus (B/Yamagata lineage) same as in 2015-2016
The selection and adjustment of northern hemisphere flu viruses for vaccines early each calendar year by WHO and CDC is based on influenza viruses circulating in the southern hemisphere flu season occurring before the upcoming northern hemisphere season.