Influenza viruses change slightly with time. This makes the seasonal vaccine used in the previous years ineffective. The effectiveness of the flu vaccine solely depends upon how closely the viruses in circulation in the community match the virus strains used to prepare the vaccine. Moreover, the health status and a person’s age also help determine the effectiveness of the vaccine.
Types of influenza viruses
- Human influenza A and B: Viruses that cause outbreaks of the disease during the flu season.
- Influenza C: This virus usually causes mild illness.
- Influenza D: This virus generally affects cattle.
Which vaccine should you get during the flu season?
- Flu Shot
This influenza shot is normally applied to the arm through a needle. It protects against three or four influenza viruses. It can be given to everyone aged above 6 months.
- Quadrivalent Flu Vaccine
It is created for protection against four different flu viruses. This includes two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses. Since different vaccine types are permitted for diverse age groups, there are quadrivalent flu vaccines available that can even be used for infants aged 6 months. Other similar vaccines have been developed and licensed for usage in kids aged 3 years and older.
- Trivalent Vaccines
These have been modified and now include H1N1 and H3N2 flu shot forms used last year. These variations can efficiently handle exposure to those strains of the flu which have evolved have increased strength.
- High-Dose Flu Vaccine
The Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent vaccine contains 4 times the amount of antigen as a regular flu shot. It is the only licensed high-dose inactivated flu vaccine. It has been specifically licensed and approved for people 65 years and older as the higher dose of antigen is intended to give older people a better immune response against flu.
- Cell-Based Flu Vaccines
Also known as the Flucelvax Quadrivalent vaccine, these vaccines are grown in cultured cells of mammalian origin instead of hens’ eggs. They use cell-based candidate vaccine viruses that can possibly offer better protection compared to egg-based flu vaccines. It is the only cell-based inactivated flu vaccine that has been licensed in the U.S. and is used in people 4 years and older.
- Flu Vaccination by Jet Injector
Here, a medical device known as the jet injector is used for vaccination. This device uses a high-pressure, thin stream of liquid to pierce the skin instead of a hypodermic needle. It was invented in the 1960s and can be powered by compressed gas or springs. It is approved for usage among people aged between 18 to 64 years.
- Nasal Spray Flu Vaccine
The Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine [LAIV] is delivered as a nasal spray and is approved for use in people of age 2 to 49 years. After the 2009 pandemic, it was found that this type of vaccine not very effective compared to inactivated flu vaccines for the 2009 pandemic H1N1 viruses, which lead to the CDC discouraging its use in the flu seasons of 2016 to 2018. However, persons with certain medical conditions should not go ahead with this type of vaccine.
- Adjuvanted Vaccine
A special ingredient added to the vaccine helps create a stronger immune response. This ingredient (adjuvant) can also reduce the amount of virus needed to develop a vaccine. It is licensed and approved for people 65 years and older.
- Recombinant Flu Vaccines
These are produced by using recombinant technology. For now, the only egg-free influenza vaccines licensed and permitted for usage among people aged 18 and above are the cell culture-based flu vaccine and the recombinant flu vaccine.
Doctors usually recommend using the injectable form of vaccines. That’s because they appear to be more efficient. Injectable vaccines also ensure that every person gets the exact amount of the required dose.
8-2-8 Urgent Care clinic is a walk-in clinic in Oceanside, CA. Please contact our medical team if you have any queries about influenza vaccination or wish to get vaccinated for flu for the upcoming season.