CDC Officials Recommended Flu Shots

Other influenza vaccine recommendations included age limits

(RxWiki News) The heat is still beating down in the last days of summer, but autumn is just around the corner. That means flu season is lurking around the bend as well.

A recent report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided recommendations regarding the flu shot for the upcoming flu season.

A flu shot is not 100 percent effective, so it cannot guarantee that a person will not catch the flu. However, getting the vaccine reduces the risk of getting the flu and passing it along to others.

"Wash your hands and don't share food or drinks during flu season."

The report, authored by Lisa A. Grohskopf, MD, of the Influenza Division at the CDC, and colleagues, explained the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

Most flu vaccines have three or four strains of the flu in them to prevent illness from those strains. Vaccines with three strains are called trivalent, and vaccines with four strains are called quadrivalent.

The committee said that all people 6 months old and older should receive the flu vaccine.

Children between 6 months and 8 years old who are receiving the flu vaccine for the first time should get two doses one month apart, the committee recommended. After receiving two doses in one year, children only need one dose of the vaccine in future years.

For children 2 to 8 years old, the committee recommended the live nasal vaccine because it is the most effective vaccine for this age group. However, some individuals have a medical reason which rules out the nasal vaccine, meaning they should get the injection instead, the authors noted.

According to the report authors, the following individuals should not get the live nasal vaccine:

  • Children under 2 years old or adults over 49
  • Children aged 2 to 17 who are taking aspirin or aspirin products
  • Those with severe allergies to flu vaccine components
  • Pregnant women
  • Immuno-suppressed persons, such as those undergoing chemotherapy or taking immunosuppressant medicines
  • Those with a history of egg allergies
  • Those with asthma or wheezing who had an episode in the past year
  • Those who have taken flu antiviral medications in the previous two days

Also, those with asthma or lung, heart, kidney, liver, neurological, blood or metabolic disorders, including diabetes, should be cautious about the nasal vaccine and may want to get the injection instead, the committee recommended.

If someone is a caretaker for another person who is immuno-compromised — such as someone taking immunosuppressants or receiving chemotherapy — then the caretaker should not get the nasal vaccine. Or, if the caretaker does get it, he or she should avoid contact with the immuno-compromised person for at least a week.

For individuals who have an egg allergy, some minor reactions have been noted, but severe allergic reactions are unlikely.

If those with egg allergies want to receive a flu vaccine that was not manufactured with egg components, the FluBlok and Flucelvax vaccines are available. However, neither is approved for children younger than 18.

The report was published Aug. 15 in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The CDC funded the report. The authors disclosed no conflicts of interest.

Review Date: 
August 20, 2014