Allergic to eggs? There’s now an influenza vaccination just for you. Fearful of needles? It won’t stop you from getting the flu vaccine. The next flu shot season will bring several new vaccine options for consumers, and Mayo Clinic vaccine expert Gregory Poland, M.D., says patients need not feel bewildered. The new choices move influenza vaccinations closer to the personalized approach long sought by immunologists, including Dr. Poland.
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Journalists: Sound bites with Dr. Poland (POE-lund) are available in the downloads.
/// Sound Bite: Individualized Medicine of Vaccine (Dr. Gregory Poland, Mayo Clinic) "And it really is ushering a new era that we've been talking about for some time, of individualized or personalized medicine. So, instead of a one size fits all, this is a very real example of the incredible advances happening in medicine, where there’s not one choice for everybody. There’s a best choice for each individual." TRT :24
A major change this year is additional coverage for a fourth strain of flu virus in the vaccine mixture. That will apply to all the nasal spray vaccines and one of the injectable vaccines. Dr. Poland says it's a way to better prepare our bodies for the possible flu bugs that might be floating around this year.
/// Sound Bite: Two A Strains Two B Strains (Dr. Gregory Poland, Mayo Clinic)
"What we've always had is Two A strains and one B strain. There are two primary B strains and we’re not very good at guessing which of the B strains is going to circulate. So, the new vaccines will have the same two A strains, but now both B strains, and this I think will increase protection and coverage against the virus." TRT :23
There's a new, far more potent, vaccine this year for the elderly. It's designed to account for the way our immune system changes as we get older.
/// Sound Bite: Vaccine for Elderly (Dr. Gregory Poland, Mayo Clinic)
"Okay, we recognize biologically that when you’re over the age of 65 you don’t respond to the standard vaccine very well. So, they created a vaccine that has four times the usual dose specifically for that condition called immunosenescence." TRT :17
For those of you who are not candidates for the nasal flu mist and skip getting vaccinated because you can't face a needle, Dr. Poland says you have a new option too.
/// Sound Bite: Vaccine for patient with Needle Fear (Dr. Gregory Poland, Mayo Clinic)
"And then a new vaccine primaryly meant for people who are afraid of needles, where the vaccine can be injected by a little micro-needle into the skin, not even under the skin, but into the skin.” TRT :13
While no specific date has been announced, flu vaccines will be available this fall. It's recommended that everyone 6 months of age and older get vaccinated for the flu.