BY Roger DeRoos, Ret. USPHS
It is time to start thinking about getting your annual flu immunization. I receive several email health-related newsletters, and the recent one from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) included the most up-to-date advisories for flu immunizations. There are two new advisories; one for the nasal administered, live attenuated influenza vaccine (called LAIV) which is sprayed into the nostrils, and the other for the “inactivated” or “recombinant” vaccine, which is administered via injection. The nasal vaccine is recommended for ages 2 to 49.
So those of us who are more advanced in age will need to continue with the injectable version. The link to the CDC “Vaccine Information Statement” update is provided below. The links to the two statements for influenza are provided in the “Routine” section about half way down the page. Perhaps you will want to pass copies on to some family and friends for their benefit.
Note that it takes about 2 weeks for protection to develop after the vaccination, and that protection lasts several months to a year.
The LAIV version (nasal) protects against 4 different influenza viruses. You are getting a live, attenuated influenza vaccine (called LAIV), which is sprayed into the nose. “Attenuated” means weakened. The viruses in the vaccine have been weakened so they won’t give you the flu. In contrast, an injectable flu vaccine, is either an “inactivated” or “recombinant” vaccine. This vaccine does not contain any live influenza virus. They are given by injection with a needle, and often called the “flu shot”.
Even though flu vaccine will not prevent all cases of flu, it is the best defense against the disease.