CDC offering new recommendations about the flu vaccine this year

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We all know getting a vaccine is hands down the best defense against the flu. But depending on your age and health, you may need to change the type of vaccine you get. And there are important new recommendations about the flu vaccine.

We all know getting a vaccine is hands down the best defense against the flu. But depending on your age and health, you may need to change the type of vaccine you get. and there are important new recommendations about the flu vaccine.

Kids are not going to like this, but this year the nasal vaccine Flumist is not recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"In the last three years, Flumist offered little if any protection against the flu in children between the ages of 2 and 17," said Dr. Orly Ayitzur, Consumer Reports Medical Director.

By comparison, when children got the shot, the vaccine was 63 percent effective at preventing the flu.

Adults ages 18 to 64 have the option of getting the vaccine with a smaller needle that only pierces the skin, which should be less painful than the traditional shot injected into the muscle.

And there are new formulations for people 65 and over to consider whose immune system research shows, may not be as responsive as young people's.

Fluzone High Dose is four times stronger than the normal vaccine and another type, Fluad, boosts older people's immune system response. Check with your doctor on those.

"When it comes to timing the shot, healthy people under the age of 60 or so can benefit from longer protection by getting the vaccine as soon as it becomes available," said Ayitzur.

However, the protective effect of the vaccine may wear off faster in older people. So getting the shot a bit later, perhaps early fall, may protect them better during winter, when the flu season tends to peak.

In any case, it takes about two weeks to build up immunity.

Consumer Reports is published by Consumers Union. Both Consumer Reports and Consumers Union are not-for-profit organizations that accept no advertising. Neither has any commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site.

(All Consumer Reports Material Copyright 2014. Consumers Union of U.S. Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)
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