The FDA approved a new flu vaccine on Feb 29th, but what on earth is a quadrivalent vaccine?
Let’s take a closer look. Those of you who get a flu shot MAY have noticed that there are 3 different kinds of virus in those older vaccines. What usually happens is that vaccine manufacturers formulate their products to contain two kinds of influenza that cause illness and death (A or B). Prior products has two kinds in type A flu and one kind of type B flu.
Enter FluMist Quadrivalent. This product will contain two kinds of type A influenza and two kinds of type B influenza. What this means is that FluMist Quadrivalent is more likely to give adequate protection against seasonal influenza.
One key element to understand is that this new vaccine is only approved for people who are from 2 to 49 years old. Type B influenza typically makes children (especially young and school aged), so the extra strain of type B flu is likely to have a benefit in kids. The form of this vaccine is intranasal (influenza vaccine live, intranasal) and it is given as one spray in each nostril for those 9-49 years old.
The question is…”would you like a shot or a spray?” The full package insert is available as of 3/2/12 at www.fda.gov. Unfortunately, this editor is over 50.