The antigenicity of the influenza virus changes so that it can evade the immune protection of the host, and antibody lineages of the host then become more potent. Approaches for creating a universal influenza vaccine that produces antibody lineages that do not undergo these changes and protects against seasonal variation and pandemic viruses require directing B-cell ontogeny to focus the humoral response on conserved epitopes on the viral hemagglutinin (HA). A more effective influenza vaccine approach would protect against several rounds of seasonal influenza variations, and, hopefully, the initiation of new serotypes from other circulating viruses.
Donnie Johnson, PharmD, RPh, Juan F. Mosley II, PharmD, CPH, AAHIVP, Lillian Smith, PharmD, MBA, CPH
For many years, healthcare professionals have advocated for people to receive the influenza vaccine annually. Commonly regarded as the flu, the influenza virus is a vaccine-preventable disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), influenza and pneumonia were the eighth leading causes of death in the United States in 2011.
Krissy K Moehling, MPH, Jonathan M Raviotta, MPH, Michael Susick, MPH, Mary Patricia Nowalk, PhD, RD, Richard K Zimmerman, MD, MPH
Despite the vast public health impact and individual benefit of immunizations, vaccine uptake among adults and certain population subgroups in the United States is suboptimal. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that influenza vaccine coverage during the 2012-2013 flu season for adults was 41.5% and adolescents, 42.5%. Although there are well-known patient barriers to vaccine acceptance, such as patient refusal to get the vaccine, other contributing factors exist that fall within the purview of healthcare systems and providers, including choice of vaccines, reimbursement, and timing of vaccine distribution.
Everyone should receive the influenza (flu) vaccine, but which one? Since the 2010-2011 flu season, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has recommended universal influenza vaccinations for all persons aged ≥6 months who do not have vaccine contraindications.
It is never too early to start preparing for the flu season. With last season’s drifted influenza A (H3N2) viruses, and >200,000 reported influenza-associated hospitalizations every year, it is imperative that we start planning for the upcoming flu season.
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