Some children may need a second flu shot

Joy Montgomery
February 24, 2018

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Flu vaccines are meant to reduce the flu by 40 to 60 percent every flu season, which begins in October and ends in mid-March.

But the Advisory Committee of Immunization Practices voted Wednesday to recommend the nasal spray as an option for next winter's flu season.

A federal panel says it's OK for doctors to start using a kid-friendly nasal spray flu vaccine again.

"We need to do more basic research on how to induce responses to the right sites on the virus, and this will require us to understand original antigenic sin better", said lead author Sarah Cobey, PhD, in a recent press release. Injected vaccines use either inactivated virus - they're called IIV for short - or genetically engineered (recombinant) virus, known as RIV for short.

Pregnant women are five times more likely to die of influenza, and they also are at increased risk of flu complications and hospitalization due to their infection, she said. FluMist never lost its approval from the Food and Drug Administration, but vaccine providers usually don't even make a product available unless it has an ACIP endorsement.

Walgreens' flu index reports that four Texas cities - Dallas, El Paso, Tyler and Waco - are in the top 10 spots on the nationwide list of areas with high flu activity.

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Influenza is a very common disease, but if symptoms go untreated the flu can be deadly for certain age groups, specifically very young children, and elderly individuals. "CDC continues to recommend influenza vaccination because the vaccine can still prevent some infections with now circulating influenza viruses, which are expected to continue circulating for several weeks".

"The flu vaccine is recommended at any point during pregnancy", Sukumaran said.

The predominant influenza strain circulating in San Diego and across the country this season is H3N2. Hospitalizations for the flu were also down about 8 percent. It's been off the US market since then, although it is still used in other countries, including Canada and the European Union.

According to the CDC, there is no shortage in supply of the flu vaccine. Flu vaccination continues to be the best defense against severe illness, and death. H3N2 is the most lethal of the seasonal strains and has been around for 50 years.

"All of us are waiting for the next big pandemic of influenza, and I think that's where this season needs to be eye opening", Lakey said.

"None of us knows what is going to happen", she said. The flu vaccine changes from year to year, depending on what flu bugs are going around.

Other ACIP members aired concerns that flu vaccine effectiveness often crops up as a serious issue with flu vaccines, in general, and they wondered if the committee was holding FluMist to a different standard.

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