Influenza vaccine composition needs to be changed each year after evaluating the genetic composition of circulating Influenza virus strains at that time. Influenza viruses continuously evolve and vaccines need to be updated each year to provide effective immunity against flu. WHO recommends the revised ingredients of the Influenza virus vaccine each year, based on the observations and evaluations of the various laboratories worldwide. Scientists at the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune, run by the Indian Council of Medical Research’s (ICMR) approves the new vaccine before it enters the Indian market.
What is the quadrivalent flu vaccine?
A quadrivalent influenza vaccine is designed to protect against four different influenza viruses; two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses.
Why was the quadrivalent flu vaccine developed?
For many years, influenza vaccines were designed to protect against three different influenza viruses (trivalent vaccines). Trivalent vaccines include an influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus and one influenza B virus. Experts had to choose one B virus, even though there are two different lineages of B viruses that both circulate during most seasons. Adding another B virus to the vaccine aims to give broader protection against circulating influenza viruses.
Who can get quadrivalent flu vaccine?
Different vaccines are approved for different age groups. There is a quadrivalent influenza shot that can be given to children as young as 6 months of age ( Junior). Other quadrivalent influenza shots are approved for people 3 years and older ( Adult) .
The new stocks of Influenza vaccine normally enter the Indian markets by mid august or early September. It is advised to get the vaccination done if you or your family member belong to a high risk group as soon as the new vaccine becomes available. Children from 6 months to 9 years of age are susceptible to Influenza and can be given a vaccine each year. Pregnant women should be given the vaccine in the 2nd or 3 rd trimester as they are highly susceptible to serious flu infection. Vaccine will not only protect the mother-to-be but also her newborn baby later. Adults coming under high risk category are patients with Lung, Liver, Heart and Kidney disorders, Diabetes, hematological diseases, diseases that impair respiratory functions, and immunosuppression. Also, the personnel employed in nursing homes or health care facilities and household contacts of children <5 years are recommended to take the yearly flu shots.