HHS focuses on increased vaccination for new flu season

Ben Ihlow died on September 3 after a week-long battle with the flu leaving behind his wife Samantha and 10-month-old son Andrew

The group recommended a new influenza A H3N2 strain, and swapped out the Victoria-lineage B strain with a Yamagata-lineage virus that had been recommended a year ago as the second B strain in quadrivalent vaccine formulations.

The number of public health flu clinics has been reduced this season as more people turn to other means of getting the shot, not the flu.

Flu vaccine rates were stagnant overall in the United States during the 2016-17 season, prompting health officials to urge people to get vaccinated before the unpredictable virus kicks into gear.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price "leads by example" and receives an influenza vaccination from Medstar Visiting Nurse Sharon Walsh-Bonadies during a news conference on September 28, 2017, in Washington, D.C. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention laid out guidelines for who should be vaccinated for the upcoming flu season.

Flu season has started, and influenza vaccines are now available. He says getting shots cannot only protect your co-workers, classmates, and neighbors, but also your longevity. Seasonal influenza vaccines are created to protect against the three or four strains that research indicates will be most common in a given year, according to the CDC.

For those with egg allergies, the CDC says people who have experienced only hives after exposure to eggs can get any licensed flu vaccine that is appropriate for their age and health. Vaccines will be provided to children older than 3 and adults only. During the 2016-2017 season, the hospitalization rate was almost double that of the 2015-2016 season and higher across all age groups (cumulative rate for all ages of 62.6/100,000) than the previous eight seasons, with the exception of the 2014-2015 season. "Vaccination can help prevent you or someone you love from becoming sick and missing school or work, or worse, becoming severely ill or being hospitalized from or even dying from flu", said Price. This seasons vaccines have been updated to better match circulating viruses.

But too few children and adults get their yearly flu shot, he noted.

Among children age 6 months through 23 months, the vaccination rate was 76.3 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"It will be severe and there will always be a flu season". In most seasons, the higher hospitalization rates are among older adults 65 and older.

Each fall, the KCHD partners with schools and child care facilities to offer flu vaccinations to eligible children.

Luedtke says this season, health officials are again recommending injectable flu shots over nasal sprays.

At their meeting this week in Melbourne, Australia, World Health Organization (WHO) vaccine advisors today recommended changing two of three components for trivalent vaccines that pharmaceutical companies will produce for the Southern Hemisphere's 2018 flu season.

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