The federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that adequate quantities of vaccines should be available during the 2014-2015 flu season. Projection is that private manufacturers will make available some 159 million doses of vaccine for the U.S. market. They will be shipping primarily trivalent (three component) influenza vaccines, including intramuscular, intradermal, and nasal spray vaccines. About 40 percent of vaccines will be quadrivalent (targets four flu viruses). In addition, all six U.S. manufacturers will produce at least one formulation that is thimerosal-free or preservative-free.
The CDC recommends that for flu season, physicians use the nasal spray vaccine for healthy children two to eight years old. Reports show the nasal spray vaccine works better than the flu shot in younger children. A yearly flu vaccine is recommended for everyone six months of age and older. Children younger than six months are at higher risk of serious flu complications, but are too young to get a flu vaccine. That makes it especially important that parents and family members living with an infant be vaccinated. High risk groups include children and infants, pregnant women, seniors, and people with disabilities or chronic health conditions.
L.A. Care has promoted the importance of annual flu vaccination to members through reminder phone calls and postcard distribution. As such, providers should anticipate an influx of members needing the flu vaccine. L.A. Care is requesting providers make every effort to schedule timely flu shot appointments and incorporate flu shot administration into all scheduled visits as appropriate.
For more information about this year’s flu vaccination, including a list of free flu shot clinics and private vaccination sites, please visit the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health at http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/ip/flu/FluLocatorMain.htm.