Be prepared for changes to flu vaccines this year

WASHINGTON — Get ready for a number of changes to vaccinations this flu season: Eggs are in, noses are out and there’s a more effective vaccine for seniors.

For the first time this year, even people with severe egg allergies can get a flu shot, according to recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“But, it has to be in a supervised medical setting,” Dr. Avni Jain, family medicine physician at Adventist Healthcare in Germantown, Maryland, told WTOP.

Another big change this year? Only injectable vaccines are being administered during the 2016-2017 flu season.

“The CDC does not recommend the flu mist nasal spray vaccine because of decreased effectiveness for reasons unknown,” Jain said.

Also, there’s a new, stronger vaccine available this season for people 65 years and older that’s made with a substance known as adjuvant that enhances the body’s immune response.

Experts recommend everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated. Last year’s vaccine matched circulating viruses and reduced the risk of flu illness by about 47 percent.

During the 2015-2016 flu season, Jain said, the flu killed 85 babies, compared with 248 the previous season.

It’s unclear whether this flu season has the potential to be severe.

Protect your health this winter and stop by on Oct. 14 for your free flu shot, WTOP goodies and more. For more flu information and additional clinic information please click here.

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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