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CDC Q&A On Flu 2008-2009 Flu Vaccination

Armen Hareyan's picture

CDC, reporting on the 200-2009 flu vaccination situation says the vaccine should be available in many locations now. Vaccine manufacturers ship their vaccine in lots as it comes off the production lines. Several manufacturers of U.S. influenza vaccine began shipping vaccine for the 2008-09 influenza season in August. Most of the vaccine is expected to be distributed by the end of November.

Where can I find flu vaccine?
See your health care provider to get the flu vaccine or seek out other opportunities to get the vaccine. The Flu Vaccine Clinic Locator is a helpful tool to find vaccine in your area.

How much flu vaccine will be available for the 2008-09 influenza season?
Vaccine manufacturer’s are projecting that as many as 143 million to 146 million doses of influenza vaccine will be produced for use in the United States during the 2008-09 influenza season. This is an all-time high supply of vaccine making it possible for more people than ever to seek protection from the flu.

When should I get vaccinated for the 2008-09 flu season?
Yearly flu vaccination should begin as soon as vaccine is available and continue throughout the influenza season, into December, January, and beyond. Influenza season most often peaks in February, but influenza viruses can continue to cause illness into the spring. For people not able to get their influenza vaccine in the fall, vaccination in December, January and beyond is beneficial in most years (For general information on the timing of flu seasons in the United States, visit http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/flu-season.htm.)

If I get vaccinated now will I be protected all season?
Yes. The protection (immunity) provided by the vaccine lasts about a year, so vaccination in August or September provides protection for the duration of the United States flu season, which can last until April or May. Getting vaccinated as soon as vaccine is available may be most important for children being vaccinated against flu for the first time, who need to get two doses of flu vaccine at least 4 weeks apart.

Will this year's vaccine protect me against the flu?
The flu vaccine protects against the three main flu strains that research indicates will cause the most illness during the flu season. This year’s influenza vaccine contains three new influenza virus strains.

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They are:

•A/Brisbane/59/2007(H1N1)-like virus;
•A/Brisbane/10/2007 (H3N2)-like virus;
•B/Florida/4/2006-like virus.

The 2008-09 influenza vaccine can protect you from getting sick from these three viruses, or it can make your illness milder if you get a related but different influenza virus strain.

For more information about the effectiveness of flu vaccine, visit http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/vaccineeffect.htm

For more information about how the viruses in the vaccine are selected, visit http://www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/vaccination/virusqa.htm

Who should get vaccinated this season?
In general, anyone who wants to reduce their chances of getting the flu can get vaccinated. However, it is recommended by CDC and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) that certain people should get vaccinated each year. Most of these people are recommended for vaccination because they are at high risk of having serious flu complications or they live with or care for people at high risk for serious complications.

People recommended for flu vaccination during the 2008-09 flu season are:

•Children aged 6 months up to their 19th birthday
•Pregnant women
•People 50 years of age and older
•People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions
•People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
•People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including:
•Health care workers
•Household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu
•Household contacts and out of home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated)