Jeffrey Kopman Published: Sep 3, 2013, 0:32 PM EDT weather.com
year, a new quadrivalent flu vaccine will be available. It could offer
more protection from the flu, making this season the first in more than
30 years to offer children and adults an alternative vaccine to the
traditional trivalent vaccine.
The trivalent vaccine protects
against three flu strains: The Type A strains H1N1 and H3N2, and one
strain of Type B. The new quadrivalent vaccine protects against four flu
strains: The normal three strains as well as an additional Type B
But it might not be worth it for everyone to hold out for the new vaccine. Early September is the time for children older than six months to be vaccinated, according to recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
should be vaccinated as soon as possible, the AAP states, even if the
quadrivalent vaccine is not immediately available. But the organization
did acknowledge that the new vaccine might offer improved protection.
vaccinating vulnerable groups of people — such as children and seniors —
as soon as possible should be more of a priority than deciding between
the new vaccine and the traditional vaccine, experts say.
should not delay vaccinating their children to obtain a specific
vaccine,” said pediatrician Henry Bernstein, DO, FAAP, the lead author
of the flu recommendations, in a press release. “Influenza virus is
unpredictable, and what’s most important is that people receive the
vaccine soon, so that they will be protected when the virus begins
Children older than nine need only one dose of
either vaccine per flu season. Children between the ages of six months
and eight years old should receive two doses if they have not been
vaccinated in previous years, according to the recommendations.
The 2012-2013 flu season was considered relatively severe due to a total of 12,343 flu-related hospitalizations
— despite a moderately effective vaccine — according to the U.S.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This year, the CDC has yet
to predict how severe the season will be, or how well this year's flu
shot will fight infection. Still, the CDC also recommends all people
over the age of six months receive vaccinations, especially those over
the age of 65.