Variety of flu vaccines to be available this year

Flu vaccination is no longer merely a choice between a jab in the arm or a squirt in the nose. This fall, some brands promise a little extra protection.

For the first time, certain vaccines will guard against four strains of flu rather than the usual three. Called quadrivalent vaccines, these brands may prove more popular for children than their parents. That is because kids tend to catch the newly added strain more often.

These four-in-one vaccines are so new that they'll make up only a fraction of the nation's supply of flu vaccine, so if you want a dose, better start looking early.

But that's only one of an unprecedented number of flu vaccine options available this year.

Allergic to eggs? Egg-free shots are hitting the market too.

Plus there's growing interest in shots brewed just for the 65-and-older crowd. Another brand targets the needle-phobic with just a skin-deep prick.

"We're moving away from the one-size-fits-all to choosing the best possible vaccine for an individual's age and condition," said Dr. Gregory Poland, an infectious disease specialist at the Mayo Clinic. "The flip side of that," he said, is that "this will be a confusing year" as doctors and consumers alike try to choose.

Federal health officials recommend a yearly flu vaccine for nearly everyone, starting at 6 months old. On average, about 24,000 Americans die each flu season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A nurse loads a syringe of flu vaccine at the Mississippi Department of Health in Jackson, Miss. For the first time, certain vaccines will guard against four strains of flu rather than the usual three this fall.

Associated Press (2012)

A nurse loads a syringe of flu vaccine at the Mississippi Department of Health in Jackson, Miss. For the first time, certain vaccines will guard against four strains of flu rather than the usual three this fall.

Variety of flu vaccines to be available this year 09/02/13 [Last modified: Monday, September 2, 2013 10:37pm]

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