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flu shot 33 articles

Flu season is officially underway; FDA gives update on seasonal flu shot

Flu season has officially begun, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) along with its partners across the Department of Health and Human Services are updating the public on steps that are being taken to improve readiness and effectiveness of the 2018-2019 flu vaccine, and to reiterate the importance of getting vaccinated. “I know that there are questions about the effectiveness and benefits of the flu vaccine,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., in an FDA statement, referencing issues with the effectiveness of last season’s vaccine. “While the effectiveness of the vaccine may vary year to year, I want to ... Read More

Flu season was one of deadliest for children

The 2017-2018 flu season was the deadliest for children in nearly a decade with 172 reports of pediatric flu deaths since October compared to 171 during the 2012-2013 flu season. Typically, about 110 children die from the flu each season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As bad as the season was last year, it did not surpass the 2009-2010 season, during which a rare pandemic involving a new strain of influenza killed more than 300 children. (The CDC only began counting pediatric flu deaths in 2004.) One thing that contributed to the higher number of ... Read More

Federal agencies begin research into 2018-2019 flu vaccine

It takes several months to produce an influenza vaccine to target flu strains for the next flu season, which is why public health experts will soon gather to discuss which strains should be targeted for the 2018-2019 flu season, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said in a news release. “Although some factors are beyond our control, such as the ability of the flu virus to change rapidly as it circulates, there are steps that we can take to ensure that the seasonal influenza vaccine protects as many individuals as possible,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., in the statement. ... Read More

This season’s flu shot only 36 percent effective

The 2017-2018 flu season vaccine is only 36 percent effective overall against influenza A and B, and less than 25 percent effective against the season’s most dominant strain, the H3N2 strain, said Anne Schuchat, M.D., acting director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Schuchat said that the strains circulating this year were the ones health experts had predicted would be affecting the public, but “the problem is the vaccine’s not working as well as we had hoped in general.” The influenza A (H3N2) viruses this year have been linked to more severe illness. In recent weeks, more ... Read More

Flu season more widespread in US than 2009 swine flu pandemic

The 2017-2018 seasonal flu epidemic is now more widespread than the 2009 swine flu pandemic, and is expected to get worse in the coming weeks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The rate of hospitalizations and deaths is also approaching – and may likely surpass – that of the 2014-2015 season, CDC officials said, adding that more pediatric deaths are likely. The entire country is currently affected. The most severe illnesses are from the influenza A (H3N2) strain, but the H1N1 subtype is also contributing to a higher than usual number of hospitalizations among 50- to ... Read More

Increase in flu cases prompts CDC health advisory

Significant increases in flu cases – predominantly the A(H3N2) strain – has prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to issue a health advisory. The CDC is recommending to health care providers, in addition to administering the flu shot for prevention, to increase use of neuraminidase inhibitor (NAI) antivirals for treatment. This treatment blocks the function of viral neuraminidases of the influenza virus, preventing its reproduction. The CDC is urging that treatment be initiated promptly and “should not be delayed even for a few hours to wait for the results of testing.” Treatment is most effective when it ... Read More

FDA approves first generic Tamiflu liquid

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the first generic version of the flu treatment Tamiflu, an oral liquid that would benefit patients who are unable or have difficulty swallowing capsules. The oral suspension contains the active ingredient oseltamivir phosphate and comes in three doses – a 30 mg, 45 mg, and 75 mg. The medication is indicated for patients aged 2 weeks and older who have had flu symptoms for no more than 48 hours. It is also used as a preventative of the flu virus in patients aged 1 year and older. It is not known whether ... Read More

Flu shot linked to miscarriages

A new study linking a particular type of flu shot to miscarriages has caused a stir among public health officials. Researchers say it’s too soon to say that the vaccine actually did cause miscarriages, but it is a troubling sign that has warranted follow up. Despite this red flag, health officials are still urging pregnant women to get vaccinated against influenza. Long-term studies involving tens of thousands of women have confirmed that pregnant women and their unborn children are at high risk of contracting the flu, and are four times more likely to be hospitalized with influenza than the general ... Read More

FDA approves FluLaval Quadrivalent flu shot for infants as young as 6 months

Infants and children 6 months of age and older can now be given the FluLaval Quadrivalent flu shot, announced drug maker GlaxoSmithKline. Until now, the vaccine, which protects against four strains of the influenza virus, could not be used in patients younger than 3 years of age. The approval was granted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. The supplemental Biologics License Application (sBLA) included data from a Phase 3 study and three supportive clinical studies conducted in children 6 months to 35 months of age. FluLaval is supplied as 15mcg hemagglutinin per virus ... Read More

Flu vaccine less effective in people taking statins

Cholesterol-lowering statins are one of the most prescribed drugs in the world, taken to help prevent heart attacks and strokes. But two new studies show that the drugs may weaken the effectiveness of the flu vaccine. The studies come just as the flu season is beginning and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is urging virtually everyone to get vaccinated to protect themselves against influenza. The findings have left many people questioning this new statin side effect. Researcher say that studies suggest that statins, such as the widely prescribed Lipitor, may reduce the body’s immune response to the ... Read More