The New Four-Strain Flu Vaccine for 2013
By Traci Wozniak, PharmD
Our pharmacists are getting asked a lot of questions about the new four-strain flu vaccine that's recently been in the news. This year is the first year manufacturers are offering a flu vaccine that protects against four strains (quadrivalent) of the flu virus, rather than the typical three strains (trivalent) in the past. Each year scientists try to determine which strains of the flu will be most likely to cause illness in our population and develop a vaccine accordingly. Therefore, theoretically a vaccine with an additional strain of the influenza virus will offer more protection against the harm the flu can cause, but there is currently not enough research to prove that the newer vaccine is the better option. Both vaccines protect against H1N1, H2N3, and one type B virus, which are predicted to cover 80% of flu cases this season. The difference is the quadrivalent vaccine offers an additional type B virus.
Since this is the first year the vaccine is offered, availability is limited and the four-strain vaccines are only a fraction of the flu supply this season.
The CDC does not recommend one flu vaccine over another. It is just important to protect yourself and your loved ones by getting vaccinated every year.
Fagen Pharmacy offers the Afluria vaccine made by Merck & Co. Early fall is a perfect time to get the flu shot as the flu season is just beginning. The flu season typically starts in October and can last all the way until May. The cost is $28.95 for cash paying patients. Medicare Part B covers the shot for no charge. We can also bill private insurances. Don't wait! Get vaccinated today!
Check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/
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