2016-2017 Flu Vaccination Guidelines
Reducing the global health impact of influenza requires a careful review of the history of the disease as well as an evaluation of where influenza infection may be going next. Overall, the 2015-2016 influenza season was moderate in terms of infection activity and clinical consequences. The prevalence of influenza infection and complications was lower than that of previous years.
There was a good match between the influenza strains chosen for the 2015-2016 vaccine and the strains that promoted influenza infection in that same period. Traditionally, the vast majority of influenza deaths occur among children who were not vaccinated. Half of the influenza deaths in 2015-2016 were among children without a high-risk underlying medical condition.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics AAP follows other guidelines in recommending annual influenza vaccination for everyone 6 months and older. Children at least 6 months old with conditions, such as asthma, that predispose them to complications of influenza are particularly; high priority for vaccination.
- The AAP recommends against the use of the quadrivalent live attenuated influenza vaccine in 2016-2017. National observational data demonstrated that the live vaccine was ineffective in preventing influenza among children during the past 3 seasons. The risk for influenza was nearly 4-fold higher among children who received the live vaccine vs the inactivated vaccine.
- Vaccination is the best means to prevent influenza infection. It generally reduces the number of outpatient visits for influenza illness by 50% to 75%.
- Younger children continue to require a booster dose after their first influenza vaccination, but children 9 years and older do not. If a child previously received 2 doses of influenza vaccine, regardless of when they were administered, a booster dose 1 month later is not required.
- The influenza vaccine is safe in all stages of pregnancy. Maternal anti-influenza antibodies can cross the placenta and provide protection for newborns.
- Influenza is unpredictable, it is recommended that vaccination to be completed before the end of October, if possible. Vaccination may be offered through June 30 of the following year.
- The inactivated influenza vaccine can be trivalent or quadrivalent. The quadrivalent vaccine includes an additional influenza B strain and theoretically may be more effective should that strain be more prevalent in a given year. However, there are insufficient data on clinical outcomes that demonstrate superiority, of the quadrivalent vs the trivalent vaccine.
- The most common adverse effect of the inactivated vaccine is local site pain, and it occurs at approximately the same rate in the trivalent and quadrivalent vaccines.
- The rate of anaphylaxis following the influenza vaccine is similar to other vaccines (approximately 1 case per 1,000,000 doses). Although most inactivated influenza vaccines contain eggs, there is little to no risk for allergic reaction associated with the vaccines among persons with egg allergy. Egg allergy of any severity is not a contraindication to the influenza vaccine.
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