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This award-winning blog supplements the articles in Hospital Infection Control & Prevention.

Same flu strains in next season's vaccine, but shots just as important

Next season’s trivalent influenza vaccines will contain the same strains as this year’s vaccine – but it’s still important to get the annual flu vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In a telebriefing, Anne Schuchat, MD, director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said CDC is still studying the issue of how quickly immunity wanes after flu vaccination. To ensure protection, it is important to receive the vaccine every year, she said.

“We strongly recommend people get influenza vaccine every single year whether the flu vaccine changes or not,” she said. “We know that duration of protection for any vaccine can vary by individual.”

CDC reported that the prevailing strain this year was H1N1, the strain that emerged in the pandemic of 2009. It has continued to cause severe illness, hospitalizations and deaths, hitting adults younger than 65 particularly hard.

Almost two-thirds (61%) of flu-related hospitalizations were among adults 18 to 64 years of age, CDC reported. Antiviral treatment should be given to patients with severe illness as early as possible, CDC advised.

-----Michele Marill