After the big H1N1 virus that caused the 2009 pandemic, the US Food and Drug Administration approved seven influenza vaccines for this next flu season, 2010-2011.
What is the Flu?
A flu is a respiratory illness which is caused by influenza viruses. It is contagious and the best way to prevent the flu is to receive the flu vaccine each year.
These newly approved vaccines protect against three strains of influenza, including H1N1, according to Medical News Today. Last year, there were two vaccines needed in order to protect against the 2009 H1N1 flu. According to FDA, only one vaccine is required this year.
Director of FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, Karen Midthun, M.D., said, "The best way to protect yourself and your family against influenza is to get vaccinated every year. The availability of a new seasonal influenza vaccine each year is an important tool in the prevention of influenza relate illnesses and death."
Here is a list of the new vaccines that have been approved (Brand Names & Manufacturers):
1) Afluria (CSL Limited)
2) Agriflu (Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics)
3) Fluzone and Fluzone High-Dose (Sanofi Pasteur Inc.)
4) Fluvirin (Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics Limited)
5) Flarix (GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals)
6) FluMist (Medlmmune Vaccines Inc.)
7) FluLaval (GlaxoSmith Kline Biolgicals)
How do they figure out these vaccines that FDA recommends?
Experts from FDA, World Health Organization, CDC and possibly other institutions examine and study virus samples collected worldwide. They examine them to find strains likely to cause the most illness during the next season. Then with the strains and vaccines, the closer the match, the more protection against influenza disease.
With all this research, the FDA did approve of seven new vaccines for this season.
The Flu spreads. It can spread very easily by people coughing, sneezing or simply talking.
So who is actually at risk of getting the flu?
According to CDC, there are certain people who are at greater risk for complications if they get the flu. In this group are older people, young children, pregnant woman and people with certain health conditions.
A study completed in 1990 found that flu-related deaths estimated 17,000 during the mildest season to 52,000 during the severe season. According to the CDC, 90 percent of deaths during a regular flu season occur in people who are 65 years old or older.
The 2009 H1N1 virus caused the first flu pandemic in over 40 years. There were around 12,000 or more flu-related deaths.
The important thing here is to be preventative, especially with parents and their children. CDC says, "the single best way to prevent the flue is to get a flu vaccine each season." Now, FDA has approved several new vaccines. They should become available in September and continue throughout flue season, which in some cases can last as late as May.