Is Your Child Sick?TM
Bainbridge Pediatrics Flu Clinic Update:
Our last two flu clinics scheduled for November 21st and 22nd are filling up quickly! If your child has yet to get their Flu vaccine this year go online to the patient portal to schedule your appointment, or call our office at 206-780-KIDS.
This past week, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) presented the following news release taken from data presented at the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): “LAIV not effective against influenza A H1N1 viruses in children 2 through 8 years during the 2013-’14 influenza season.”
This may be alarming to some, as this year’s 2014-’15 vaccines are identical to last year’s 2013-‘14 vaccines. To read the full statement, click on the link below. But before you panic, please consider the following:
Every flu season is a little different. Flu viruses are constantly changing (a phenomenon known as “antigenic drift”). Each year, experts pick which 3-4 viruses to include in the vaccine, months prior to the season. Certain viruses are predicted to be significant players in the upcoming influenza season based on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) ongoing global surveillance data. Therefore, there is always the possibility of a less than optimal match between the virus in the vaccine and the circulating virus. The vaccine, however, can still provide protection even if the vaccine isn’t a good match.
There are primarily two forms of the flu vaccine for children. You’ve probably become familiar with the options when your pediatrician asks you, “Would you prefer the nasal spray or the shot?” (Caveat – if your child has asthma, lung disease or is immunosuppressed, he or she should not be receiving the flu nasal vaccine.)
The “nasal spray” is actually known as the live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV). It’s a quadrivalent vaccine, intending to protect against 4 flu strains. The CDC recommends this form for healthy 2-8 year old children as prior data has suggested superior efficacy to the vaccine form. This year, the LAIV contains the following viruses: Influenza A (H1N1), Influenza A (H3N2), and two Influenza B viruses.
The “shot” is an inactivated influenza vaccine that is also quadrivalent this year. It contains the same strains as the LAIV. In previous years, the inactivated form contained 3 flu strains.
Both vaccines are essentially identical to last year’s 2013-2014 vaccines.
The CDC data, published on Oct 29, suggests that last year’s (2013-2014) LAIV did not adequately protect against Influenza A (H1N1) compared to the shot. One can assume, therefore, that this year’s LAIV likely will not be effective for Influenza A (H1N1).
But remember how flu viruses are always changing? Preliminary data of the 2014-2015 season is demonstrating that Influenza A (H3N2) and Influenza B are the primary flu viruses so far, not Influenza A (H1N1). And both of these are effectively matched and covered by the LAIV and the inactivated vaccine.
So, yes, you and your child should still get a flu vaccine. Either form is still appropriate. And if your child has already received the LAIV, he or she does not need to be re-immunized with the inactivated form.
Influenza’s nature is unpredictable, and vaccination, in either form, should not be delayed. The annual flu vaccine decreases the risk of getting the flu and spreading it to others – the more people vaccinated against the flu results in less spread of the flu in our communities.
If you have any concerns or questions, please always feel comfortable calling our clinic to discuss them.
More information about this year’s flu and vaccines can be found at: www.CDC.gov/flu
This post used the following references:
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