The 2017-2018 Flu Season, What’s the Difference Inside a Vaccine?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) have released an information update concerning the 2017 -2018 flu season. As they did last season, the CDC recommends AGAINST using the live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) nasal spray this year and ONLY recommends using an injectable trivalent or quadrivalent seasonal flu vaccine.

So, what’s up with the two vaccine types recommended by the CDC?

Importantly, note that you cannot get the flu from either type of injectable vaccine.

These vaccines can either be a recombinant influenza vaccine (“RIV”) or an inactivated influenza vaccine (“IIV”). The trivalent flu vaccine protects against three different strains of flu virus, two influenza A and one influenza B, while the quadrivalent protects against four different strains, two A and two B.  The trend towards the quadrivalent vaccine stems from the fact that prior to the vaccine’s development, CDC experts oftentimes had a difficult decision between which influenza B strain would be chosen for a given year. Hence, the quadrivalent flu vaccine offers broader coverage with an additional influenza B strain in the vaccine.

The 2017-2018 flu season trivalent vaccine contains:

  • A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1) pdm09-like virus
  • A/Hong Kong/4801/2014 (H3N2)-like virus
  • B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus (B/Victoria lineage)

While the quadrivalent vaccine contains:

  • A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1) pdm09-like virus
  • A/Hong Kong/4801/2014 (H3N2)-like virus
  • B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus (B/Victoria lineage)
  • B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus (B/Yamagata)

Because of the broadened coverage offered with the quadrivalent vaccine, pharmaceutical companies are producing more of the quadrivalent variety. The CDC estimates that of the 151 to 166 million doses of influenza vaccine to be administered in the U.S. for the 2017 – 2018 flu season, 119 million doses will be quadrivalent vaccine.

Rest assured that adverse reactions are very rare regardless of which type of seasonal flu vaccine you receive. In the unlikely event you experience an adverse reaction, the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program could provide coverage for your injury provided that certain criteria are met.

If you or someone you know has been injured from a vaccine, contact the Vaccine Injury Legal Team at Sands Anderson to help you begin the path to recovery.

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