Flu vaccine 2013-2014: what’s new?

fluPediatricians associate Back to School with “Time to get your flu vaccine.” At least this pediatrician mom does. As I try to figure out when I can get my own three children over to my office to get their flu vaccines, we want to give you a flu vaccine update.

This year, the squirt-in-the-nose flu vaccine protects against FOUR flu strains of flu, not three as in past years. Most of the injectable form of the flu vaccine this year still protects against three flu strains as in years past but some injectable flu vaccines also offer protection against a fourth strain as well (this is called QUADravalent, as opposed to the traditional TRIvalent form).

Because of supply issues, not all offices will be stocked with the newer quadravalent form of the injectable vaccine. The
American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommend that your children receive which ever kind of flu vaccine is available in your pediatrician’s office. We imagine that if the new quadravalent vaccine prevents more flu complications than the traditional trivalent vaccine this year, then next year manufacturers will make more of the quadravalent form.

It is not too soon to get your flu vaccines. Immunize now to help keep flu out of your homes this year. Your child’s immunity will last the entire season. As in past years, all children aged 6 months and older should receive flu vaccine. If this is the first time your child ever receives the flu vaccine and if she is under age nine years, she will need two doses spaced at least one month apart this season to receive maximum protection.

As a refresher, please see our post on how to tell the difference between the flu and the common cold, and also our flu and flu vaccine myth buster post.

You may recognize the illustration from last year. Even though school just started, the holidays and flu season are right around the corner. Today we bring the drawing back again as a symbolic gesture. After all, the flu keeps coming back too.

Julie Kardos, MD and Naline Lai, MD
©2013 Two Peds in a Pod®

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