Pharmacist Doug: Flu Vaccine Choices

By nature the science of predicting which strains of virus might cause actual illness is challenging. The CDC (Center for Disease Control), FDA and The World Health Organization are our main sources of information for vaccinations. Their websites provide information about the process. For example, the FDA says that these organizations, and other public health experts study influenza virus samples and global disease patterns to identify virus strains likely to cause the most illness during the upcoming flu season. This is a hard science, but not a 100% guarantee. 

Flu Vaccine Choices
- Regular IM Injectable 
- New 4-Strain IM Injectable
- Nasal 
- High-Dose 3-Strain IM Injectable
- Egg-Free Form
- Intradermal Injection

Global estimations and predictions. There will be an added B virus strain in the quadrivalent shot, but, it is not such a huge threat especially to adults. It is a little more threatening to children. As you can imagine the more strains they put into the vaccines the variability might decrease even if just by a hair. Most of the literature seems to lean to predict that quadrivalent flu vaccines will be the norm in the future. 

NOTE: Most of the experts are afraid that people will hear about this 4 strain vaccine and think that they are not getting full coverage with the trivalent flu shot. That is not true! The pharmaceutical companies are making less of the new 4 strain, therefore much less will be available. Plus, the 4 strain shots will most definitely be more expensive and insurance company's formularies may not have had time to catch up with this new product. Some of the scientist have said that they do not agree that this added strain will make coverage better for the unpredictable upcoming flu season. The experts at the CDC, World Health Organization and the FDA all say that any flu shot for the season is much better than none. 

Doug: Ask the healthcare provider you trust to inform you about all the new flu vaccine news. You can also educate yourself by checking out the CDC, World Health Organization and FDA's web sites.

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