Questions & Answers
Influenza - Seasonal - The Vaccines
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General Questions

Questions
Answers
  1. How effective is influenza immunization in protecting me from illness caused by the different strains of influenza?
    Vaccines are developed each year in an attempt to match the predicted virus strains. When they are well-matched, immunization of healthy adults is 70-90% effective in preventing influenza illness. When the majority of circulating influenza strains is not well matched by the vaccine, effectiveness has been as low as 47-77%. Vaccines may be somewhat less effective in elderly persons and very young children, but immunization can still help prevent serious complications from influenza illness.

  2. What if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding? Can I still receive the seasonal influenza vaccine?
    Yes. The ACIP, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American Academy of Family Physicians have all recommended the routine vaccination of women who are pregnant, or who become pregnant during the influenza season. Pregnant women, as well as lactating/postpartum women and their newborn babies, are at high risk for influenza complications. Pregnant women may receive the inactivated injectable influenza vaccine, during any point of gestation and postpartum; breastfeeding women may receive the inactivated or live vaccine.

  3. Are influenza vaccines harmful during my pregnancy?

    Pregnant women are at high risk for influenza related complications and are a priority group for vaccination. The FDA has classified Fluzone and Afluria as "Pregnancy Category B", indicating that animal reproduction studies have not demonstrated a fetal risk, but there are no controlled studies in pregnant women.

    The ACIP, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), and the American Academy of Family Physicians recommends the use of injectable influenza vaccine for immunization of pregnant women because the benefit of protection outweighs the potential risk of any adverse event.



  4. If a child is receiving an influenza vaccination for the first time, what is the appropriate administration schedule?

    According to the ACIP and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP):

    Children aged 6 months to 8 years who are receiving the influenza vaccine for the first time or whose previous vaccination status is unknown should receive two (2) doses of vaccine separated by at least four weeks.

    Children aged 6 months through 8 years who have NOT received two (2) or more total doses of seasonal influenza vaccine since July 2010 should receive two (2) doses of vaccine separated by at least four weeks.

    Children aged 6 months through 8 years who received two (2) or more total doses of seasonal influenza vaccine since July 2010 and all children 9 and older should receive one dose of seasonal influenza vaccine.



  5. If a child 6 months - 8 years of age is receiving an influenza vaccination for the first time, must the same type of vaccine be administered for both doses?
    No. The first and second doses can be from different manufactures or age-appropriate formulations. IIV can be used when vaccinating children aged 6 months to 8 years and LAIV (FluMist®) for children aged 2 years and older, who have not been previously vaccinated.

  6. How are injectable and intranasal influenza vaccines shipped and stored?
    All injectable and intranasal vaccines are shipped and should be stored at 2 to 8 degrees Celsius. When the vaccine arrives at your facility, it must immediately be placed in a refrigerator. In addition, protect Afluria, Flucelvax and Fluvirin from light until use. Do not use vaccines past the expiration date printed on the vaccine vial or syringe. Once the Afluria multi-dose vial has been punctured the vaccine must be used within 28 days. Fluzone multi-dose vials may be used after puncture until the expiration date on the vial. Any prefilled syringes, sprayers or single dose vials must be discarded at the end of the day if the tip cap is removed, a needle is placed on the syringe or the cap of the vial has been removed.

  7. If I need to administer a tuberculin skin test (TST), should I be concerned about administering the influenza vaccine at the same time?

    Yes. The live vaccine (FluMist®) may suppress a positive response to a tuberculin skin testing (TST or PPD) in a person who is infected with tuberculosis (TB), resulting in a false negative skin test. If a person needs TB skin testing and LAIV, you can correctly administer both in one of three ways

    • Give the TST (PPD) and the vaccine simultaneously.
    • Give the TST (PPD) first and when the person returns to have the skin test results interpreted, administer the live vaccine.
    • Give the live vaccine and then delay administration of the TST (PPD) for 28 days. Injectable influenza vaccines and tuberculin skin test can be administered concurrently or at any interval.


    • Can live vaccines and the influenza vaccine be administered on the same day?
      The inactivated injectable influenza vaccine may be administered on the same day as live vaccines or at any interval thereafter, but the live intranasal influenza vaccine must be administered on the same day as the other live vaccines or separated by an interval of at least 28 days.

    • Can I get seasonal flu illness from the flu vaccine?
      Influenza vaccine does not cause the flu virus. Some vaccinated people may have mild flu-like symptoms, which are caused by the immune system's response to the vaccine. Other people may feel soreness or have mild, uncomfortable side effects. The most common side effects associated with the injected flu vaccine are redness, swelling, and soreness at the injection site. The nasal spray type of flu vaccine may cause runny nose, nasal congestion, sore throat, and chills in some patients. For more information please visit the CDC flu website or contact the MILVAX-VHCN.

    • Why does my child need to get the flu vaccine?
      Infants and children, as well as the elderly, are more likely to have serious complications from the flu virus. In addition, children may be exposed to flu virus at school and daycare. Please contact the MILVAX-VHCN if you want to discuss the influenza vaccine with a MILVAX-VHCN healthcare provider.