New Vaccine Available this Flu Season
By Jill Kasparie, Reporter
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - It's that time of year when we start hearing sneezes and coughs all around us.
Doctors and pharmacists say now is the time to get a flu shot. This year, however, there's a new vaccine.
For the first time, some health departments and doctors’ offices are offering that new vaccine. It's called the quadrivalent flu vaccine, simply meaning it will protect you from four different flu viruses. Up until now, the flu shot only protected you against three strains.
Healthcare providers are starting their annual reminders for people to get the influenza vaccine.
"The sooner you get it, the better,” said Linn County Public Health Nurse Heather Meador.
"Statistically you are a lot better off doing the flu shot as early as you can,” said Hy-Vee Pharmacy Manager Mike Brixius.
This year, though, health departments and doctors’ offices are armed with a new tool. The quadrivalent vaccine provides more protection against circulating flu viruses.
"This year some of the vaccine that is coming out will actually has four components. So, it will have two viruses of the A and two viruses of B vaccine components in there,” Meador said.
It contains protection against an extra strain of influenza B. Meador said her department wanted to get on board right away.
"Once we heard about the quadrivalent we definitely wanted to partake,” Meador said.
The health department has the new vaccine that you can get as a flu shot or a Nasal-Spray flu mist. The Hy-Vee pharmacy on Edgewood only has the mist.
"The shot of the quadrivalent is hard to get a hold of,” Brixius said.
Pharmacists said if you can't get the new vaccine, it's still important to get a flu vaccine to help keep you healthy this flu season.
"Right now the CDC doesn't particularly recommend one over the other, but the expert opinion is that teenagers and children get the quadrivalent flu shot, mainly because they tend to be a little bit more -- hit a little bit harder by the Influenza B strain,” Brixius said.
Since the vaccine is so new, not many will be available this flu season. The Centers for Disease Control said about 30 million of the nation's 135 million doses will be available as this four-in-one vaccine.
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