What to Expect for the Influenza Season

What Influenza strains make up the 2018-2019 vaccination?

On March 1, 2018, the Food and Drug Administration’s Vaccines and Related Biologics Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) endorsed the WHO-recommended vaccine viruses for use in all U.S. seasonal flu vaccines for the 2018-2019 flu season.

It was recommended that trivalent vaccines for use in the 2016-2017 influenza season (Northern Hemisphere winter) contain the following:
an A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1) pdm09-like virus;
an A/Singapore/INFIMH-16-0019/2016 (H3N2)-like virus;
a B/Colorado/06/2017-like virus (B/Victoria lineage).

For quadrivalent 2018-2019 influenza vaccines in the U.S., the committee recommended the inclusion of the following strain in addition to the above three strains that are included in the trivalent vaccine:
a B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus (B/Yamagata lineage).

What are the annual Influenza vaccination recommendations for 2018-2019?

An annual seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to reduce the chances that you will get seasonal flu and spread it to others. When more people get vaccinated, less flu can spread through that community. Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine. The seasonal flu vaccine protects against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. Studies of healthy young adults have shown influenza vaccine to be 70 percent to 90 percent effective in preventing influenza A illness, with moderately lower efficacy rates in the elderly. A flu vaccine is needed every season for two reasons. First, the body’s immune response from vaccination declines over time, so an annual vaccine is needed for optimal protection. Second, because flu viruses are constantly changing, the formulation of the flu vaccine is reviewed each year and sometimes updated to keep up with changing flu viruses. CDC recommends annual influenza vaccination for everyone 6 months and older with any licensed, age-appropriate flu vaccine.


Prevention and Control of Seasonal Influenza with Vaccines: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices — United States, 2018–19 Influenza Season. [source]

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