CDC Puts Observational Period in Place for Everyone Receiving the Flu Shot

October 12, 2016
Caitlyn Fitzpatrick

As flu strains evolve each year, the latest vaccine guidelines have changed for the 2016 to 2017 season.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has long stood by its suggestion that everyone six months of age and older, with some exceptions, receive the annual flu vaccine. That advisement is still in place, but as flu strains evolve each year, the latest guidelines have changed for the 2016 to 2017 season.

One of the updates was announced in June, saying that the live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV), known as the nasal spray flu vaccine, should not be used this year. Recent data showed low effectiveness — and this isn’t the first time that has been the case. In a preliminary trial in May, the nasal vaccine protected 3% of children from 2015 to 2016 while the inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV) protected 63%. The nasal spray is licensed and may be available in some places, but officials still advise against it.

The CDC still recommends that people receive the IIV or recombinant influenza vaccine (RIV), but the guideline updates apply to the shots as well. On October 1, we learned that the vaccine’s composition had been changed in order to better match the anticipated flu strains.

In previous years, it’s been advised that people who are allergic to egg should be observed for 30 minutes following vaccination for potential allergic reactions. This recommendation has been removed and now it’s advised that providers should observe all patients, even those without an egg allergy, for 15 minutes afterwards.

For those who have a severe allergic reaction to egg — defined as a symptom other than hives – should be vaccinated in an inpatient or outpatient medical setting. Whether it’s in a hospital, clinic, or physician office, a healthcare provider who can recognize and manage severe allergic reactions should be present.

These changes have gained support from the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), and the CDC’s director, Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, received his annual on-camera flu shot.

#Flu is serious & unpredictable. Make sure to get a flu shot by the end of October. I’m ready. Are you? #FightFlu pic.twitter.com/Jrpd0QgL6O

— Dr. Tom Frieden (@DrFriedenCDC) September 29, 2016

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