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September 2011
Patient Care and Science
CDC Makes New Recommendations for Influenza Immunization

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in August released this year’s recommendations on influenza vaccination, including some changes affecting young children and people with egg allergies.

This year’s vaccine targets the same three strains as last year: A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)-like, A/Perth/16/2009 (H3N2)-like, and B/Brisbane/60/2008-like antigens. Even though the vaccine is unchanged, CDC advises annual vaccination because levels of protective antibodies can decrease, especially in the elderly and people with compromised immune systems.

Experts have known for some time that children aged 6 months through 8 years require two doses of influenza vaccine during their first season of vaccination. This year, however, because the vaccine strains are unchanged, children in this age group who received at least one dose of the 2010-2011 vaccine will require only one dose of the 2011-2112 vaccine. Children in this age group who did not receive at least one dose last year or whose immunization status is uncertain should receive two doses.

Also new this year is more in-depth advice concerning people with egg allergies. Several recent studies have documented safe receipt of trivalent inactivated vaccine (TIV) in people with egg allergy, particularly those with less severe reactions. CDC now advises that people who have had only hives after exposure to eggs should receive TIV from providers who are familiar with egg allergy and should be observed for at least 30 minutes after vaccination to monitor for possible reactions. People who have had more serious reactions to eggs (e.g., angioedema, respiratory distress, lightheadedness, recurrent vomiting, or those who required emergency medical care) should consult with an allergist before receiving the vaccine.

Last year was the first year that CDC recommended universal influenza immunization for everyone over 6 months of age. With vaccine manufactures projecting to have between 166 million and 173 million doses of vaccine on the U.S. market this season, CDC says the supply should be ample in September and October.

For the full recommendations, see:

Prevention and control of influenza with vaccines: recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), 2011. MMWR. 2011 Aug. 18;60(early release):1-6
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