Trending Clinical Topic: Flu Vaccine Recommendations

Ryan Syrek

Disclosures

September 06, 2019

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With the flu season fast approaching, recommendations regarding vaccination became this week's top trending clinical topic. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) updated its recommendations for the 2019-2020 influenza season. The ACIP expects inactivated influenza vaccines, recombinant influenza vaccine, and live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) to be available. In particular, those at increased risk for severe illness or complications from influenza—as well as those healthcare workers who care for them—should receive vaccination. These include:

  • Children aged 6-59 months

  • Adults aged ≥ 50 years

  • Adults and children with chronic diseases

  • Immunocompromised individuals

  • Women who are or expect to be pregnant during the influenza season

  • Children and adolescents aged 6 months through 18 years at higher risk for Reye syndrome

  • Individuals who live in long-term care facilities

  • American Indians/Alaska Natives

  • Individuals who are extremely obese (body mass index ≥ 40 for adults)

Earlier this year, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) updated its influenza vaccine recommendations to specify that both the injectable vaccine and nasal spray vaccine are acceptable for the 2019-2020 season. A recent study on children with asthma and recurrent wheezing who received the intranasal LAIV found that it was safe in that group as well, as they did not experience increased lower respiratory events compared with similar children who received the injection. Last season, the AAP recommended the injectable vaccine and indicated that the nasal spray should be used only in situations where children may not otherwise get vaccinated. In general, last season's flu vaccine was weak; it was only about 30% effective overall and ineffective against a late-surging strain.

The future of flu vaccines may look entirely different, as researchers are conducting the first human trial of a universal influenza vaccine candidate. The goal is to develop a vaccine that will overcome the challenges associated with seasonal changes among influenza strains. For now, early preparations for this year's season helped make flu vaccination recommendations this week's top trending clinical topic.

Read more about influenza.

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