Even though it’s only the middle of July, pediatricians are hard at work preparing for the 2014-2015 flu season. Historically, we begin receiving shipments of the traditional quadrivalent inactivated influenza vaccine (for injection) and the quadrivalent live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) — given intranasally — by the middle of August. That means in another month we are going to begin administering flu vaccines and setting up flu vaccine clinics for families to conveniently receive them on certain evenings and Saturdays in our offices. (Watch your inbox and please let us know if your email address has changed.)
Two things about this year’s influenza you should be aware of. First, the strains in this year’s influenza vaccine will identical to last year’s. And second, the intranasal vaccine (Flumist) gets the nod over the injectable shot as the preferred vaccine for children between 2-8 years of age. Michele G. Sullivan says the recommendation comes from the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP):
All children aged 6 months or older should receive influenza vaccine, according to the recommendation. “Influenza vaccine should not be delayed to procure a specific vaccine preparation if an appropriate one is already available.”
The committee approved the recommendation after hearing an evidence review that found the LAIV to be “moderately” more effective for this age group than the inactivated vaccine was. Although the data are not plentiful, they suggest that it would probably prevent about 47 more lab-confirmed cases of flu per 1,000 children than the IIV, Dr. Lisa Grohskopf said.
Your children will probably appreciate getting protected from influenza without getting a shot!