Expert advice on the elderly, pregnant women and influenza vaccinations

Expert advice on the elderly, pregnant women and influenza vaccinations


Flu strains vary from year to year, but one thing remains constant: Everyone aged six months or older should be infected. Annual flu vaccination. according to Sandra A. Freehofer, MDis the AMA’s liaison to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and a member of the ACIP’s COVID-19 Vaccines Working Group.

The United States has so far avoided a severe flu season amid the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Australia is experiencing its worst flu season in five years, which may serve as a warning for the northern hemisphere.

“The best way to protect yourself and those around you is to get vaccinated,” said Dr. Freihofer, who is chairing the session AMA . Board of Trustees.

Specific considerations and exclusions apply to persons over 65 years of age And pregnant women, Dr. Freehofer said in an episode of the program “AMA . UpdateIn which I outlined the latest vaccination options for these two groups of patients.


All flu vaccines available this year cover four strains of flu: two for influenza As and two for influenza B. Flu vaccination recommendations for most people have not changed. But for those 65 or older, it’s now recommended that patients get one of three vaccinations: either one of two higher doses of the flu shot or an adjuvant vaccine.

ACIP recommends one of these for seniors because they are at increased risk of severe influenza-related illness, hospitalization and death. Flu vaccines are often less effective in older adults.

The two highest-dose doses — Flublok and Fluzone High-Dose — are three and four times more powerful than regular flu vaccines, respectively. The adjuvant vaccine marketed as FLUAD is the same strength as the standard flu vaccine but contains an adjuvant, MF59, to enhance its immune response.

Flublok may be given to adults 18 years of age or older. “And for seniors, the regular flu shot is fined if a higher dose or adjuvant flu shot is not available. Dr. Freihofer advised that getting any flu shot is better than no flu shot at all.

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Physical changes make pregnant women more susceptible to serious illness from the flu. Vaccination has been shown to reduce the risk of influenza-related respiratory infection in pregnant women by 50% and reduce the risk of hospitalization with influenza by 40%.

A pregnant woman is eligible to receive any age-appropriate inactivated or inactivated vaccine. The exception is the live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) or the nasal influenza vaccine, which is made with a live – but weakened – virus.

“It’s a good idea to give LAIV after delivery,” Dr. Freihofer noted.

In general, she added, “it is very important that a pregnant woman receives the flu shot.” “As for timing, the flu shot can be given at any time during pregnancy.”

Women in their second or third trimester will be encouraged to get vaccinated as early as July or August, but other than that, the idea is to get it as soon as fall arrives.

“This way, the mother’s antibodies can pass on to the baby and provide protection for them during the first few months of life when the baby is too young to be vaccinated,” said Dr. Freihofer. . “

AMA . UpdateCovers healthcare topics that affect the lives of clinicians and patients. Hear from clinicians and experts on public health, advocacy issues, scope of practice and more – because who’s doing the talking matters. You can watch each episode by subscribing to AMA YouTube Channel or the Audio-only podcast versionwhich also features educational presentations and in-depth discussions.

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