Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices Updates Influenza Vaccine Recommendations

Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices Updates Influenza Vaccine Recommendations

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), a part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has recently published its updated recommendations for influenza vaccination for the upcoming 2023 to 2024 flu season. These recommendations were approved by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) and provide healthcare professionals with guidance on the use of different influenza vaccines.

According to estimates from the CDC, during the 2019 to 2020 flu season, influenza vaccines prevented millions of illnesses, medical visits, hospitalizations, and deaths. With this in mind, the ACIP emphasizes the importance of annual routine influenza vaccination for individuals who are aged 6 months and older and do not have contraindications to vaccination.

One notable update in the recommendations is the removal of restrictions on influenza vaccines for patients with a history of egg allergies. Previously, these patients were advised to avoid egg-based influenza vaccines. However, the new recommendations state that individuals with any history of an egg allergy, regardless of severity, can now receive any influenza vaccine as long as it is appropriate for their age and health status. No additional safety measures beyond those recommended for any vaccine are necessary.

For the 2023 to 2024 flu season, all influenza vaccines available in the US are quadrivalent, meaning they protect against four different strains of the flu virus. There are nine different influenza vaccines to choose from, each approved for specific age ranges. Vaccines such as Afluria Quadrivalent, Fluarix Quadrivalent, and Fluvaval Quadrivalent are approved for individuals aged 6 months and older, while FluMist Quadrivalent is approved for those aged 2 to 49 years. Similarly, Flublok Quadrivalent is approved for individuals 18 years and older, and Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent and Fluad Quadrivalent are specifically recommended for those aged 65 years and older.

For children aged 6 months to 8 years who have not received two or more doses of influenza vaccine spaced at least four weeks apart, or for those whose vaccination status is unknown, it is recommended that they receive two doses of influenza vaccine, with at least four weeks between doses. It is important for these patients to receive the first dose as soon as it becomes available.

These updated ACIP recommendations aim to provide healthcare professionals with the necessary information to make informed decisions about influenza vaccination. By following these guidelines, it is hoped that the burden of influenza and its related complications can be reduced, protecting individuals of all ages from the severe impact of the flu.

– ACIP releases 2023-2024 influenza vaccine recommendations. The American Academy of Family Physicians. Press release. September 12, 2023. (Source: The American Academy of Family Physicians)

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