Flu vaccines for the 2012-2013 season | Health
Health experts are urging all people six months old and older to get a flu shot this year. Flu vaccines are designed to protect against three influenza viruses that experts predict will be the most common during the upcoming season.
Three kinds of influenza viruses commonly circulate among people today: influenza B viruses, influenza A (H1N1) viruses, and influenza A (H3N2) viruses. Each year, one flu virus of each kind is used to produce seasonal influenza vaccine.
The 2012-2013 influenza vaccine is made from the following three viruses:
an A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus;
an A/Victoria/361/2011 (H3N2)-like virus;
a B/Wisconsin/1/2010-like virus (from the B/Yamagata lineage of viruses).
While the H1N1 virus is the same as the 2011-2012 recommendation, the recommended influenza H3N2 and B vaccine viruses are different from those recommended for the Northern Hemisphere for the 2011-2012 influenza vaccine.
Everyone 6 months or older should receive the seasonal flu vaccine, the AAP advises. Immunization is especially important for all family members, household contacts, and out-of-home care providers of children under age 5 years and children with high risk conditions such as asthma, diabetes or nervous system disorders.
The recommendations, also advise vaccination for all women who are pregnant, considering pregnancy, or breast-feeding during the flu season.
The flu vaccine is safe for most children with a history of mild egg allergy -- that is, the egg allergy only causes hives -- but parents should consult an allergist before flu vaccine is given to children with a history of severe egg allergy, the AAP said in a journal news release. (A severe egg allergy can include trouble breathing and heart or GI problems, and epinephrine may be required to treat it).
The recommendations also include the following:
Children 6 months through 8 years old should get two doses of the seasonal flu vaccine four weeks apart if they got none last year.
Kids up to 8 years old need only one dose if they got at least one dose last year.
Children 9 years and up need just one dose of flu vaccine.
Until 6 months of age, infants are too young to be immunized. Family members are encouraged to get the flu vaccine to protect the infant.
An estimated 5 percent to 20 percent of Americans come down with the flu each year, leading to more than 200,000 hospitalizations from related complications. Flu-related deaths vary yearly, ranging from a low of about 3,000 to a high of 49,000 people, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
There's always a chance that a flu vaccine won't be a great match against circulating virus strains. But, even if the vaccine and the circulating strains aren't an exact match, the vaccine may reduce the severity of the illness or may help prevent flu-related complications, the FDA said.
CDC July, 2012