On Thursday August 23rd, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released updated recommendations for the coming 2018-2019 influenza season. These recommendations were featured in a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), “Prevention and Control of Seasonal Influenza with Vaccines: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.” Updated information for the 2018-2019 influenza season includes the following:
- Vaccine viruses included in the 2018-19 U.S. trivalent influenza vaccines will be H1N1, and H3N2, in addition to an influenza B strain (Victoria). Quadrivalent vaccines will contain the three aforementioned viruses with an added influenza B strain (Yamagata).
- Vaccination providers may choose to administer any licensed, age-appropriate influenza vaccine, these include the IIV (quadrivalent), RIV4 (recombinant), or LAIV4 (FluMist).
- Individuals with a history of egg allergy may receive any licensed, recommended, and age-appropriate vaccine.
- Two quadrivalent vaccines have updated age recommendations. The Afluria Quadrivalent (IIV4) can now be administered to individuals aged 5 years and older (previously aged 18 years and older) and the Fluarix Quadrivalent (IIV4) can now be administered to individuals aged 6 months and older (previously 3 years and older).
NACCHO supports local health departments (LHDs) in their immunization activities as they work to vaccinate all members of their communities, particularly during the flu season. Given the updated guidance, LHDs should work to assist in communicating these recommendations to their healthcare provider communities and local immunization partners. Given the re-introduction of LAIV4 (FluMist) as an available flu vaccine option, LHDs are encouraged to anticipate the impact this recommendation may have on their flu vaccine ordering, storage and handling, billing, and administration processes.