An investigational H1 influenza oral tablet vaccine was found to provide similar protection against influenza as an injectable quadrivalent influenza vaccine (QIV) in a Phase 2 clinical trial.
The trial participants were randomized to receive either a single dose of Vaxart oral tablet vaccine and a placebo intramuscular injection, a QIV injection plus a placebo tablet, or a double placebo. They were challenged intranasally with homologous A strain influenza virus 90–120 days after vaccination. Laboratory-confirmed homologous influenza A infections were compared among the groups.
Results showed that the tablet vaccine provided a 39% reduction in clinical disease relative to placebo, compared to a 27% reduction with injectable QIV. The tablet also demonstrated a safety profile similar to placebo.
“These results provide clinical proof-of-concept for Vaxart’s groundbreaking oral tablet vaccine technology,” said Wouter Latour, MD, MBA, CEO of Vaxart, in a press release. “A convenient and effective tablet vaccine could significantly increase current vaccination rates and generate important public health benefits for at-risk groups and the population as a whole.”
Over 80 percent of children who died from flu last year were not vaccinated.
Flu vaccines are available, and so that means that the anti-vaccine brigade is out in force.
The Daily Mail published an anti-vaccine op-ed by a former reality TV contestant named Katie Hopkins. It was followed by a shorter counter argument by a doctor, but when you are given less than half the word count and are at the bottom of the page it is hard to mount an effective response. Hopefully the Daily Mail will give us an op-ed next week on how the earth is flat.
I noticed many responses to Ms. Hopkins on Twitter were from people who claimed that they previously caught the flu from the vaccine.
So one more time, for all the kids in the back: The flu vaccine does not cause influenza.
The flu vaccine is made with an inactivated virus that cannot cause illness or with a process using a recombinant technology that contains no virus at all.
If you get sick right after the flu vaccine one of the following has happened:
You have a cold, and you have mistaken it for the flu.
You have the flu, but you were incubating it before the vaccine. The vaccine takes about two weeks to work.
You have the flu and were unlucky enough to get a strain not covered by the vaccine.
You have the flu, and it is a strain that is covered by the vaccine, but you did not get as sick as you would have without the vaccine.
Nocebo effect. You expected something bad to happen and so your body produced symptoms.
If you aren’t sure, it is the flu let me tell you it isn’t the flu. With the flu, you really feel as if you are going to die. It’s that bad. I had it several years ago, and for two days I had to crawl to the bathroom. I was too weak to walk.
In February, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), which advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on vaccine guidance, made a landmark decision establishing a universal influenza vaccine recommendation, starting with the 2010–11 influenza season. This means that all people in the United States—excluding babies younger than age six months and people with certain medical conditions—are now recommended to receive influenza vaccine every year.
The new recommendation is simple, straightforward, and easy to communicate. It eliminates the complexities of the prior recommendations, which said people should be vaccinated if they fell into any of 15 different targeted groups (a lengthy list to commit to memory). Going forward, healthcare professionals will have a very easy time deciding which of their patients are recommended for influenza vaccine. And patients will eventually come to recognize that influenza vaccine is routinely recommended for them. Now, the message is simple: everyone, every year, unless specifically contraindicated.
Here at the Immunization Action Coalition, we welcome this change. We think it will erase any uncertainties healthcare professionals and their patients may have had about who should be vaccinated, and will lead to more people than ever protecting themselves, their families, and their communities by getting immunized.
Flu shots are recommended for anyone with heart disease. Find out why.
If you have heart disease, flu season can be a dangerous time. Death from influenza (flu) is more common among people with heart disease than among people with any other chronic condition. Fortunately, getting a flu shot can reduce your risk of catching the flu or developing complications from the flu.
Doctors have long recommended that older adults and other high-risk groups get flu shots, but now emphasize the importance of flu shots for those with heart disease, as well. The flu shot could prevent thousands of flu-related complications and deaths every year in people who have heart disease.
Why are flu shots important for those with heart disease?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the flu is estimated to cause more than 36,000 deaths annually in the United States. In addition, it sends about 200,000 people to the hospital. The rate of flu-related complications is even higher for people with heart disease.
If you have heart disease, you’re at increased risk of complications from the flu — including pneumonia, respiratory failure, heart attack and death. Having the flu can also cause dehydration and worsen pre-existing conditions such as heart failure, diabetes or asthma.
Even if you get the flu despite having a flu shot, you’ll probably have a less severe case of the flu. Getting a flu shot might even lower your risk of a heart attack if you have heart disease.
Is it safe to get a flu shot if I have heart disease?
Flu shots are safe for most people who have heart disease. Get your flu vaccine injected by needle, which is usually done in the arm. Some people develop mild arm soreness at the injection site, a low-grade fever (about 99 F to 100 F, or 37 C to 38 C) or muscle aches. These side effects usually go away within a day or two.
The flu vaccine that is given by nasal spray (FluMist) isn’t recommended for people with heart disease because it’s made with live virus that can trigger flu symptoms in people with heart disease.
You shouldn’t get a flu shot if you’re allergic to eggs, or if you’ve had a serious allergic reaction to the flu vaccine in the past. If you’re sick with a fever at the time you plan to get a flu shot, your doctor may recommend waiting until you feel better to get your flu shot.
When should I get a flu shot?
If you have heart disease, get the flu shot each fall when it becomes available, usually late September through November. However, if flu shots are still available and you haven’t yet received a vaccination, you’d still benefit from getting a flu shot in January or later. That’s because the flu season doesn’t typically peak until January, February or March.
Do I have to get a flu shot from my cardiologist?
You don’t have to get your flu shot from your cardiologist. However, the American Heart Association recommends that cardiologists have the flu shot available at their clinics. The flu shot is also available through primary care doctors, some specialists and cardiology clinics, public health departments, and some pharmacies. It’s best to call ahead to determine if vaccine is available and when. Some places may require an appointment.