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Quadrivalent Influenza Vaccine

What is quadrivalent flu vaccine?

The quadrivalent flu vaccine is designed to protect against four different flu viruses; two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses.

Why was the quadrivalent flu vaccine developed?

For years, flu vaccines were designed to protect against three different flu viruses (trivalent). This included an influenza A H1N1 virus, an influenza A H3N2 virus and one B virus. Experts had to choose one B virus, even though there are two very different lineages of B viruses that both circulate during most seasons. This meant the vaccine did not protect against the group of B viruses not included in the vaccine. Adding another B virus to the vaccine aims to give broader protection against circulating flu viruses.

Who can get the quadrivalent flu vaccine?

Different vaccines are approved for different age groups. There is a quadrivalent flu shot that can be given to children as young as 6 months of age. Other quadrivalent flu shots are approved for people 3 years and older. The quadrivalent nasal spray vaccine is approved for people 2 through 49 years of age who do not have contraindications to the nasal spray vaccine. Refer to the table of 2015-16 approved influenza vaccines in the U.S. for more information.

Who shouldn’t get the quadrivalent flu vaccine?

CDC recommends use of the flu shot (inactivated influenza vaccine or IIV) and the recombinant influenza vaccine (RIV). The nasal spray flu vaccine (live attenuated influenza vaccine or LAIV) should not be used during 2016-2017. Different flu vaccines are approved for use in different groups of people. Factors that can determine a person's suitability for vaccination, or vaccination with a particular vaccine, include a person's age, health (current and past) and any allergies to flu vaccine or its components.

Are any of the available flu vaccines recommended over the others?

For the 2016-2017 flu season, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends annual influenza vaccination for everyone 6 months and older with either the inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV) or the recombinant influenza vaccine (RIV). The nasal spray flu vaccine (live attenuated influenza vaccine or LAIV) should not be used during 2016-2017.There is no preference for one vaccine over another among the recommended, approved injectable influenza vaccines. There are  many vaccine options to choose from, but the most important thing is for all people 6 months and older to get a flu vaccine every year. If you have questions about which vaccine is best for you, talk to your doctor or other health care professional.

How much of the flu vaccines for the United States during 2016-2017 will be quadrivalent?

Of the 157 to 168 million doses of influenza vaccine projected to be available for the 2016-2017 season, manufacturers estimate that 96 million doses will be quadrivalent flu vaccine.

Is the quadrivalent flu vaccine safe?

Yes. Flu vaccines that protect against four flu viruses are made in the same way as the flu vaccines that have been around for years that protect against three flu viruses. The difference is the addition of another vaccine virus. Studies have shown that vaccines made to protect against four flu viruses have a safety profile similar to seasonal flu vaccines made to protect against three viruses, with similar—mostly mild—side effects. Hundreds of millions of people have safely gotten flu vaccines that protect against three flu viruses. Like all seasonal flu vaccines, vaccines that protect against four flu viruses will be monitored for their safety and effectiveness.

Quadrivalent vaccine cannot cause influenza illness, because the vaccine viruses used to make it are ‘inactivated’ (killed) or attenuated (weakened). See “Can the flu vaccine give me the flu?” for information about flu vaccine side effects.

What should people do if they can’t find available quadrivalent vaccine?

Don’t delay getting a flu vaccine if you cannot locate a quadrivalent vaccine. The important thing is to get vaccinated against influenza. Find flu vaccine near you using the vaccine finder at http://vaccine.healthmap.org/. Call ahead to ask about availability if you are interested in a specific type of vaccine.

Will the quadrivalent flu vaccine be more expensive than the trivalent flu vaccine?

Quadrivalent flu vaccines may cost more than trivalent vaccines. Ask your insurance provider or doctor to find out how much you may need to pay and how much of the cost is covered by insurance.

Special Consideration Regarding Egg Allergy

The recommendations for vaccination of people with egg allergies have changed for 2016-2017.

People with egg allergies can receive any licensed, recommended age-appropriate influenza vaccine and no longer have to be monitored for 30 minutes after receiving the vaccine. People who have severe egg allergies should be vaccinated in a medical setting and be supervised by a health care provider who is able to recognize and manage severe allergic conditions.

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