Vaccine manufacturers are making a serum that protects against four strains of the flu instead of the normal three.
This year’s trivalent influenza vaccination is made from H1Ni and H3N2 strains, and an influenza B 2012-like virus, and the quadrivalent vaccine contains an additional coverage of an influenza B 2008-like virus.
Vaccine manufacturers will produce between 135 million and 139 million doses for the 2013-14 flu season, with between 30 million and 32 million of those doses being the quadrivalent vaccine.
Ferrysburg resident David Segerlind said he’s received the flu vaccination for the past few years because of his small children. The 34-year-old father of two said the new type of vaccination won't impact which one he receives.
“There are probably 10,000 strains out there,” he said. “I don’t know if three strains versus four strains is a big difference.”
Although the flu season doesn’t normally peak until January or February, Ottawa County Health Department Kristina Wieghmink spokeswoman recommends residents start getting vaccinated in the fall.
Each year, between 5 and 20 percent of the U.S. population becomes infected with influenza, and about 23,600 flu-related deaths are reported each year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.
Although the four-strain vaccine offers coverage of an additional strain, Darcy Tussing, director of North Ottawa Community Hospital System's pharmacy services, said there isn’t a recommendation from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices that any one vaccine is preferred.
“The most important choice is to get vaccinated,” she said.
Symptoms of influenza include a fever, chills, sore throat, cough, headaches, body aches, fatigue, and a runny or stuffy nose.
“The flu is a contagious respiratory illness that infects the nose, throat and lungs,” Wieghmink said. “It can cause mild to severe illness. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year.”