ACIP issues 2015-16 Flu Vaccine Recommendations

In August, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) published its 2015–16 Influenza Vaccine Recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

“There are three best practices to fight the flu,” said Susan Lett, M.D., a member of ACIP, and medical director of the state immunization program, “Get flu vaccination for your patients, your staff, and yourself. Treat flu presumptively in high risk patients, and basic infection control measures prevent spread. These measures include hand and respiratory hygiene and staying home when sick.”

Dr. Lett highlighted the key points from the ACIP recommendations:

  • Seasonal flu vaccine is recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older.
  • Begin administering influenza vaccine as soon as the vaccine is available. Vaccination should not be delayed to procure a specific vaccine formulation.
  • This year there is no preferential recommendation for anyone age-appropriate and approved flu vaccine formulation over another.
  • For 2015–16 flu season, CDC and ACIP now recommend annual influenza vaccination for children 2 through 8 years of age with either nasal spray flu vaccine (i.e., LAIV) or flu shot (i.e., IIV), with no preference expressed when either one is otherwise appropriate and available.

The recommendations also include guidance on dosing for children 8 years and younger:

  • Children 6 months–8 years of age who have previously received 2 or more total doses of trivalent or quadrivalent influenza vaccine as of July 1, 2015, only need 1 dose for 2015–16. The 2 previous doses do not need to have been given during the same season or consecutive seasons.
  • Children 6 months–8 years of age who have previously received only 1 dose or no doses of influenza vaccine need 2 doses of vaccine to be fully protected for the 2015–2016 season.

New Vaccine Information Statements (VIS) for both IIV and LAIV for the 2015–16 influenza season are available. Find them, and additional information, at www.cdc.gov/flu.

For questions about flu vaccine recommendations, call the MDPH Immunization Program at (617) 983-6800 and ask to speak to an immunization epidemiologist or nurse. For questions about state-supplied flu vaccine availability, contact the Massachusetts DPH Vaccine Management Unit at (617) 983-6828.

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