Now is the time to get those flu shots. We’re on our way to do just that and thought you might want to know what’s new in this year’s flu. Our friends at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have some very useful information about the vaccines.
Who should get the vaccine?
CDC recommends annual influenza vaccination for everyone 6 months and older with any licensed, influenza vaccine that is appropriate for the recipient’s age and health status, (IIV, RIV4, or LAIV4) with no preference expressed for any one vaccine over another.
What viruses will the 2019-2020 flu vaccines protect against?
There are many different flu viruses and they are constantly changing. The composition of U.S. flu vaccines is reviewed annually and updated as needed to match circulating flu viruses. Flu vaccines protect against the three or four viruses (depending on the vaccine) that research suggests will be most common. For 2019-2020, trivalent (three-component) vaccines are recommended to contain:
- A/Brisbane/02/2018 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus (updated)
- A/Kansas/14/2017 (H3N2)-like virus (updated)
- B/Colorado/06/2017-like (Victoria lineage) virus
Quadrivalent (four-component) vaccines, which protect against a second lineage of B viruses, are recommended to contain:
- the three recommended viruses above, plus B/Phuket/3073/2013-like (Yamagata lineage) virus.
Who selected the viruses?
The World Health Organization (WHO) made the selection of the H1N1 and both B components for 2019-2020 Northern Hemisphere flu vaccines on February 21 and at that time decided to delay the decision on an H3N2 vaccine component. FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) also selected the H1N1 and B components at their first meeting on March 6, but also decided to postpone the selection of the H3N2 component. WHO selected the H3N2 component listed above on March 21, 2019. VRBPAC chose the same H3N2 component for U.S. vaccines on March 22, 2019.
How much flu vaccine will be available this season?
Flu vaccine is produced by private manufacturers, so supply depends on manufacturers. For the 2019-2020 season, manufacturers have projected they will provide between 162 million and 169 million doses of vaccine for the U.S. market.
Preventing the flu
The single best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated each year, plus good health habits like covering your cough and washing your hands often can help stop the spread of germs and prevent respiratory illnesses like the flu. There also are flu antiviral drugs that can be used to treat and prevent flu. The tips below will help you learn about steps you can take to protect yourself and others from flu and help stop the spread of germs.
- Avoid close contact.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
- Stay home when you are sick.
If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. This will help prevent spreading your illness to others.
- Cover your mouth and nose.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick. Flu and other serious respiratory illnesses, like respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), whooping cough, and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), are spread by cough, sneezing, or unclean hands.
- Clean your hands.
Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Practice other good health habits.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
Dean and Draper
We encourage you to get the flu vaccine and hope that you escape the flu virus this year. When you have questions about your insurance, we’re here to help.
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