The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has recently released updated recommendations for influenza vaccination for the upcoming 2023 to 2024 flu season. These recommendations provide guidance to healthcare professionals on the use of influenza vaccines in different patient populations.
According to estimates from the CDC, influenza vaccines prevented millions of illnesses, medical visits, hospitalizations, and deaths during the 2019 to 2020 flu season. Therefore, annual vaccination is highly recommended for individuals aged 6 months and older, unless there are contraindications to vaccination.
One notable update in the recommendations is regarding patients with a history of egg allergy. Previously, special precautions were advised for these patients when receiving influenza vaccines due to the use of eggs in the manufacturing process. However, the new guidelines state that patients with any history of egg allergy, regardless of severity, can now receive any influenza vaccine that is appropriate for their age and health status. No additional safety measures are required beyond the standard recommendations for any vaccine.
For the 2023 to 2024 flu season, there are nine different influenza vaccines available in the United States. All of these vaccines are quadrivalent, meaning they protect against four different strains of the influenza virus. The vaccines have different approved age ranges, ranging from 6 months and older to 65 years and older. Healthcare professionals should consult the specific recommendations for each vaccine to determine the appropriate age range.
In terms of dosing, children aged 6 months to 8 years who have not previously received two or more doses of influenza vaccine should receive two doses, administered at least four weeks apart. It is recommended to administer the first dose as soon as it becomes available. If a child is 8 years old and requires two doses, both doses should still be given, even if the child turns 9 before the second dose.
These updated recommendations from the ACIP provide healthcare professionals with clear guidance on the use of influenza vaccines for the upcoming flu season. By following these recommendations, healthcare providers can help reduce the burden of influenza and its complications in their patients.
ACIP – Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices
CDC – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Influenza – a viral infection that affects the respiratory system
ACIP releases 2023-2024 influenza vaccine recommendations. The American Academy of Family Physicians. Press release. September 12, 2023.