The number of influenza cases in the United States has reached epidemic proportion and continues to increase each week, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Flu vaccination is the best way to prevent infection, and experts say it is not too late to vaccinate.

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recently published the 2017 immunization schedule for adults 19 years of age and older. The ACIP recommendations include several major updates to the requirements for influenza, human papillomavirus (HPV), hepatitis B, and meningococcal vaccines. Key changes include:

  • Influenza: The live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV; FluMist) should not be used because of concerns with low effectiveness of the vaccine during previous influenza seasons. Adults who have a history of egg allergy and experience only hives after egg exposure should receive an inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV) or recombinant influenza vaccine (RIV). Adults who have a history of egg allergy and who experience symptoms other than hives – angioedema, respiratory distress, lightheadedness, or recurrent emesis – may receive IIV or RIV, but the vaccination should be supervised by a healthcare provider with experience in managing allergic reactions.
  • HPV: Adolescents who begin receiving the HPV vaccine series before age 15 should receive two doses. Adults and adolescents who start the vaccine series at age 15 or older should continue to receive the three-dose series.
  • Hepatitis B: Adults with chronic liver disease — including hepatitis C virus infection, cirrhosis, fatty liver disease, alcoholic liver disease, autoimmune hepatitis, and an alanine aminotransferase or aspartate aminotransferase level more than twice the upper limit or normal — should receive the hepatitis B vaccine series.
  • Meningococcal: Adults with HIV infection should receive a two-dose primary series of serogroups A, C, W, and Y meningococcal conjugate vaccine. In addition, the ACIP updated the dosing guidelines for one serogroup B meningococcal vaccine (MenB).

“Adults need immunizations to protect themselves and their loved ones from serious diseases,” says Greg Wise, MD, FACP, editor of Primary Care Reports. “These guidelines help primary care physicians continue to provide excellence in patient care.”

A complete review of adult immunizations will appear in Primary Care Reports this spring.

Additional ACIP vaccine recommendations and CDC vaccination schedules are available online.