According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,CDC, the flu kills an estimated 36,000 Americans a year and puts200,000 into the hospital. The CDC recommends that elderly people,health care workers, children under 2-years-old and people withchronic illnesses get a flu vaccine every year.
But multitudes in the United States will go without a fluvaccine this winter as a result of the suspension of the ChironCorporation’s license to manufacture the Fluvirin vaccine intheir Liverpool facility for the next three months, by theMedicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in theUnited Kingdom.
Influenza is an airborne virus spread throughsneezing and coughing. It is recommended by CDC officials that aninfected person be detained one to four days. Adults are contagiousone day before the onset of symptoms and can remain contagious forup to six days. Children and spread the virus for up to six daysbefore the onset of symptoms and can be contagious for more than 10days.
This season 54 million doses of Fluzone, aninactive flu shot manufactured by Aventis Pasteur, Inc. and 1.1million doses of LAIV/FluMist, a live attenuated flu vaccinemanufactured by MedImmune will be available in the United States asalternatives, according to CDC.
There are two types of influenza vaccines: theflu shot and the nasal-spray flu vaccine.
The flu shot is an injection of an inactivatedvaccine that contains dead viruses that do not cause the flu. Sideeffects of the flu shot include possible redness and soreness inthe place where the needle is injected, fever and aches.
In contrast, the nasal-spray is a vaccine madefrom live, weakened flu viruses that do not cause the flu. But sideeffects can be more severe including runny nose, headache,vomiting, muscle aches and fever in children; adults can possibleexperience runny nose, headache, sore throat and cough.
Each vaccine contains three influenza viruses,one A (H3N2) virus, one
A (H1N1) virus, and one B virus. Antibodiesthat develop about two weeks after the vaccination is given protectthe body from infection caused by the influenza virus.
CDC in conjunction with its Advisory Committeefor Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends that the followingpeople receive a flu shot this year:
- adults aged 65 years and older;
- all children aged six through 23 months;
- persons ages two through 64 with underlyingchronic medical conditions;
- all women who will be pregnant duringinfluenza season;
- residents of nursing home and long-term carefacilities;
- children six months through 18 years of ageusing chronic aspirin therapy;
- health-care workers with direct patientcare;
- out-of-home caregivers and
- household contacts of children aged less thansix months.