Sorting out flu vaccine options
What’s the best way to avoid the flu? You hate needles, so should you get that flu vaccine that comes in a nasal spray? Or how about that new kind of vaccine that may also be given without a needle?
And will the type of vaccine that’s available during the 2017-2018 flu season be effective against whatever variant of the bug makes an appearance this time around?
The Seasonal Flu resource on OSHA’s website includes information for workers and employers about reducing the spread of seasonal flu in workplaces. While basic precautions should be used in all workplaces, additional precautions must be used in healthcare settings, where workers may come in contact with flu exposed patients and thus, are at higher risk for exposure to the flu virus.
Health and Human Services’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated guidance for protecting individuals from seasonal flu. Refer to this page for updates on the most recent seasonal flu vaccine. Each year the vaccine is revised to protect against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common this season.
Some answers to the question posed above:
Should you go with the “nasal spray” flu vaccine (otherwise known as live attenuated influenza vaccine - LAIV)? The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) says “no,” because of poor or relatively lower effectiveness of LAIV from 2013 through 2016. Read more here.
What about that new vaccine option? It’s been approved for people five years of age and older for immunization against influenza A subtype viruses and type B viruses contained in the vaccine. Here’s more information on the recently licensed vaccine option.
Will what’s available work against the virus that shows up? The ACIP says the inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV) or recombinant influenza vaccine (RIV) recommended for everyone 6 months and older are both available in formulations that protect against either three or four flu viruses, which increases the likelihood of effective protection.
Here are other influenza vaccination guidelines from the CDC.