Time for flu shots, and some may get a tiny needle
In this Aug. 18, 2011 photo, people pass below a New York Police Department security camera, upper left, which is above a mosque on Fulton St., in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant in New York. Working with the CIA, the New York Police Department maintained a list of “ancestries of interest” and dispatched undercover officers to monitor Muslim businesses and social groups, according to new documents that offer a rare glimpse inside an intelligence program the NYPD insists doesn't exist. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
(AP) -- It's flu vaccine time again - and some lucky shot-seekers will find that the needle has shrunk.
The first flu shot that works with a less-scary skin prick instead of an inch-long needle is hitting the market this fall. Sorry kids, this option so far is just for adults, and it's so brand-new that it will take some searching to find a dose.
But there are plenty of the other varieties - standard shots, a special high-dose shot for seniors and the needle-free squirt-in-the-nose option - to go around. At least 166 million doses of flu vaccine are expected to be produced this year.
The big question is whether people will get it. Usually each year's flu vaccine varies from the previous versions as different influenza strains emerge. This year, the vaccine's a duplicate because the three flu strains that sickened people last winter still are circulating.
Scientific studies aren't clear about how much a person's immunity wanes over a year, although it varies by age and overall health. But federal health officials and the American Academy of Pediatrics weighed the evidence and say don't skip this year's vaccination - it's the only way to be sure your immune system remains revved enough for the best protection.
"You're not going to be able to count on that vaccine protecting you throughout a second season," says Dr. Lisa Grohskopf of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A yearly vaccination now is recommended for virtually everyone, except babies younger than 6 months and people with severe allergies to the eggs used to make it. Last year, 49 percent of children and 41 percent of adults were vaccinated.
Say you never catch the flu? You could be a carrier, unknowingly spreading the misery when you feel little more than a sniffle, says Dr. William Schaffner of Vanderbilt University, president of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases.
"You should be vaccinated each and every year to ensure both you're protected and you're giving the maximum protection to people around you," he says.
Here are some questions and answers about flu vaccinations:
Q: How does the new skin-deep vaccine work?
A: Sanofi Pasteur's Fluzone Intradermal uses a needle less than a tenth of an inch long to inject vaccine just below the skin's surface. This layer, called the dermis, is so rich in a certain type of immune cell that the new shot uses a lower dose of the same vaccine that's in regular flu shots. Studies found it triggered as much protection as full-strength muscle shots - although it did cause more skin reactions like redness, swelling and itching. There's little data on pain perception.
But it's only for 18- to 64-year-olds. It hasn't been studied in children's more-tender skin. Sanofi estimates it will sell less than 1 million doses this year while introducing the newly approved product to doctors, before a full market launch next flu season.
Q: What about the original ouchless flu vaccine, the nasal-spray version?
A: MedImmune's FluMist is for a different age group, people ages 2 to 49 who are healthy, meaning no one with underlying health conditions or who is pregnant. Unlike flu shots that are made with killed flu virus, FluMist is made with live but weakened virus.
Q: For older adults, does CDC recommend the high-dose shot?
A: The immune system weakens with age so that it doesn't respond as well to an ordinary flu shot. Sanofi's Fluzone High-Dose is a standard into-the-muscle shot but it contains four times the usual dose, to spur more immune response in people 65 and older. First sold last year, studies still are under way to track if that translates into fewer illnesses and hospitalizations. It can cause more of the typical flu-shot side effects. The CDC says it's OK for seniors to choose either a high-dose shot or the regular shots from a variety of manufacturers.
Q: Who's at highest risk from the flu?
A: Young children, anyone 50 or older, anyone with chronic medical conditions such as asthma and certain heart or kidney problems, and pregnant women. A flu vaccination during pregnancy has the added benefit of passing some protection to the baby.
Q: When should I get vaccinated?
A: Anytime, but it takes about two weeks for protection to kick in. Flu typically starts circulating around November, and peaks around January. Some chain pharmacies started vaccinating a month ago. Next month, Hawaii begins offering free in-school vaccinations for elementary and middle school students.
Don't put it off too long, says Dr. Scott Gorenstein of Great Neck, N.Y., an emergency physician whose own son Nate, then 4, nearly died of flu during the 2009 pandemic. The boy already had been exposed by the time vaccine finally was available that fall. Now, Gorenstein says the whole family gets inoculated in early fall - even though Nate has developed a vaccine allergy and as a precaution checks into the hospital for his dose.
"We got lucky," says Gorenstein, who now advises a group called Families Fighting Flu. "You just don't want to be a statistic that is preventable."
©2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
- Flu season: How many shots? Aug 30, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- 2 swine flu vaccine doses for kids under 10 likely Oct 14, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- 1 in 3 Americans already got a flu shot this year Dec 03, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Time to get your flu shot, but just one this year Aug 31, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Medical groups urge flu shots for pregnant women Sep 15, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Classical and Quantum Mechanics via Lie algebras
Apr 15, 2011 I'd like to open a discussion thread for version 2 of the draft of my book ''Classical and Quantum Mechanics via Lie algebras'', available online at http://lanl.arxiv.org/abs/0810.1019 , and for the...
- More from Physics Forums - Independent Research
More news stories
As the world prepares for what may be the next pandemic strain of influenza virus, in the H7N9 bird flu, a new UC Irvine study reveals that the 2009 H1N1 swine flu pandemic was deadliest for people under the age of 65, while ...
Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes 17 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
The World Health Organization says the Horn of Africa is experiencing an outbreak of polio with cases confirmed in Kenya and Somalia.
Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes 18 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
A man who had contracted the coronavirus has died in Saudi Arabia, raising the death toll in the kingdom from the SARS-like virus to 17, the health ministry announced on its website on Wednesday.
Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes 18 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
A new approach for immunizing against influenza elicited a more potent immune response and broader protection than the currently licensed seasonal influenza vaccines when tested in mice and ferrets. The vaccine ...
Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes 18 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Patients with underlying heart failure are more likely to experience adverse outcomes from mild hypothyroidism, according to a recent study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & ...
Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes 20 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Professor Michael Jennings, Deputy Director of the Institute for Glycomics at Griffith University, was part of an international team that discovered the previously unknown pathway of how the bacterium colonizes people.
49 minutes ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
Scientists at Newcastle University have shed new light on how the brain tunes in to relevant information.
46 minutes ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
New techniques in imaging of brain activity developed by Jean Gotman, from McGill University's Montreal Neurological Institute, and his colleagues lead to improved treatment of patients suffering from epilepsy. The combination ...
47 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
Studying the networks of connections in the brains of people affected by schizophrenia, bipolar disease or depression has allowed Dr. Peter Williamson, from Western University, to gain a better understanding of the biological ...
45 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
(Medical Xpress)—Research by U of T Mississauga psychology professor Glenn Schellenberg reveals that two key personality traits – openness-to-experience and conscientiousness—predict better than IQ ...
1 hour ago | not rated yet | 0 |
(Medical Xpress)—Scientists from the Joint Center for Structural Genomics (JCSG) at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have determined the 3-D structure of the chemically active part of an enzyme involved ...
1 hour ago | not rated yet | 0 |