Fewer Flu Shots Distributed, Fewer Influenza Deaths Reported

Influenza vaccines for 2024 2025 will be trivalent not quadrivalent
CDC vaccine
Pneumonia and Influenza Mortality from the National Center for Health Statics Mortality Surveillance System June 22, 2024
Atlanta (Precision Vaccinations News)

During the second day of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recent  Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) meeting, influenza vaccines became the main focus.

As the current flu season comes to a close, the ACIP reported that the next round of influenza vaccines, which are scheduled to arrive in pharmacies in August 2024, will be different.

On June 27, 2024, the ACIP confirmed all influenza vaccines marketed in the U.S. for the 2024-25 flu season would be trivalent, not quadrivalent.

This is because the vaccines will not contain an influenza B/Yamagata component, as there have been no confirmed detections of wild-type influenza B/Yamagata viruses since March 2020.

From an access perspective, about 158 million doses of influenza vaccine were distributed during the 2023-2024 season, which is about 10% fewer than the last couple of years (194 million during 2021-2022).

Previously, the CDC reported that on May 25, 2024, about 48% of U.S. adults had recently received a flu shot. And most flu vaccinations (41 million) were administered in retail pharmacies. 

Furthermore, the ACIP reports significant vaccine safety news.

The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System identified no new safety concerns for influenza vaccines.

Moreover, according to the National Center for Health Statics Mortality Surveillance System's June 22, 2024 report, overall influenza-related deaths were reduced. During the 2023-2024 flu season, more than 44,900 people are estimated to have died from flu complications.

However, the CDC reported 181 influenza-associated pediatric deaths during the 2023-2024 season, which is similar to the results of previous flu seasons.

“Our top recommendation for protecting yourself and your loved ones from respiratory illness is to get vaccinated,” said Director Mandy Cohen, M.D., M.P.H., in a separate CDC press release on June 27, 2024.

“Make a plan now for you and your family to get updated flu and COVID vaccines this fall, ahead of the respiratory virus season.”

A meta-analysis of influenza vaccine effectiveness (VE) studies conducted from 2017 through 2022 and published in the journal Vaccines in February 2024 shows that the real-world effectiveness of seasonal influenza vaccination averaged 41.4%.

Most noticeably, flu shot VE varied substantially by virus type and age group each year, concluded this study.

As the new flu shots become available in late summer 2024, most pharmacies will offer consumers a choice between egg, cell, and/or nasal vaccines. These flu shots are recommended for most people over the age of six months.

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