More flu vaccine choices than ever this year - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

More flu vaccine choices than ever this year

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Michiana residents going to get a flu shot this year will have a lot of options.

For the first time, there are six types of flu vaccines.

The traditional three-strain shot is recommended for everyone six months and older. It contains two Type A strains and one Type B strain.

A new four-strain shot has two Type A strains and two Type B strains. This vaccine does provide more protection than the three-strain shot, but will not be available everywhere. However, Dr. Thomas A Fleger of the St. Joseph County Healh Department says that should not worry people who can't access the four-strain version.

There will also be a nasal spray, which will be a four-strain vaccine. This could be a great option for people who don't like needles, but can only be used by people between ages two and 49. 

A high-dose vaccine is designed for those ages 65 and up. According to Dr. Elek at Memorial Family Medicine Center, this group is also one of the two groups most at risk of dying from the flu.

Four percent of children and one percent of adults are allergic to eggs and avoid the traditional flu shot since it's incubated in a chicken egg. This year though, they can be protected from the flu too with an egg-free vaccine this year. 

The final choice this year is a microneedle vaccine. This contains a panel of tiny needles rather than a single needle for people who feel faint at the sight of a typical needle.

Dr. Fleger says that even though there are a lot of choices, people should keep one thing in mind.

"The recommendation is to get one, no matter which one."

Dr. Elek says the more people who get the vaccine, the better protected the entire community will be.

"Even though you may not get really, really sick, you may be able to pass it on to somebody who might get sick enough to die," says Elek. "So we want to get what's called herd immunity where if most of us are immune to it, then we won't have an epidemic."

For more information about each of these flu vaccines and delivery systems, you can visit the CDC website's Seasonal Influenza page.

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