CDC: Seasonal Viruses Match Flu Vaccines

ATLANTA, Oct. 7 (UPI) — Seasonal influenza viruses in the southern hemisphere and tropical areas match the viruses in this year’s seasonal flu vaccine, U.S. health officials say.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, released Thursday, says Influenza A (H3), 2009 influenza A (H1N1) and influenza B, have been present throughout the world. One flu shot protects people against both seasonal and H1N1 flu.

During last year’s H1N1 pandemic health officials recommended vaccination of all children age 6 months to18 years with both seasonal influenza vaccine and influenza A (H1N1) 2009 monovalent vaccine.

A CDC report assessed changes in seasonal influenza vaccination coverage among children from the 2008-2009 to the 2009-10 season and finds influenza vaccination coverage with one or more dose of influenza vaccine was 26.3 percent in the 2009-2010 season — a 5.5 percentage point increase from the 2008-2009 season.

Flu vaccination rates of children ages 6-23 months remained stable at about 55 percent. However, in children ages 2-4 years the flu vaccination rate increased from 33 percent to 38.4 percent, vaccination of children ages 5-12 increased from 19 percent to 27.1 percent, and in those ages 13-18 flu shots increased from 10.9 percent to 15.3 percent, the report says.

The CDC urges flu shots for everyone age 6 months and older — particularly pregnant women, young children, healthcare workers, parents of infants and people with asthma, diabetes and heart disease.

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