Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body that provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine. The current supply of vaccines approved by the CDC protects against the influenza viruses that will be most common during the upcoming season. The regular trivalent vaccines protect against the three most common types of flu viruses – an influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus, and an influenza B virus. There are also quadrivalent vaccines that protect against the same viruses as the trivalent vaccine plus another additional type B influenza virus.
The trivalent flu vaccines are available in a wide range of options. There are standard-dose trivalent shots that are manufactured using virus grown in eggs that can be given with a needle or with a jet injector. There is a high-dose trivalent shot that is approved for people 65 and older, a trivalent shot containing virus grown in cell culture that is approved for people 18 and older, and a recombinant trivalent shot that is egg-free which is approved for people 18 years and older. As for the quadrivalent vaccines, there is a qudrivalent flu shot that is manufactured using virus grown in eggs approved for people of different ages, an intradermal quadrivalent shot which is injected into the skin instead of the muscle and uses a much smaller needle than the regular flu shot that is approved for people 18 through 64 years of age, and a quadrivalent nasal spray vaccine that is approved for people 2 through 49 years of age.
Different flu vaccines are approved for use in different groups of people. Factors that can determine a person’s suitability for vaccination with a particular vaccine include a person’s age, his or her current and past health condition, and any relevant allergies, including an egg allergy. Since 2010, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has been enjoining everyone in the United States six months of age and older to get a flu vaccine every season.
It’s important to note that the vaccines have to be updated every year because the flu viruses are constantly changing and mutating. The updated vaccine now in use is designed to specifically protect against the influenza viruses that CDC research says will most likely spread and cause illness during the 2015-2016 flu season. Flu vaccination is available at your doctor’s office, at your school or workplace clinics, or at the community health center. The preventive care section of your neighborhood Kroger pharmacy outlet also offers flu shots to customers even without appointments.