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Health: Flu Vaccine: New Options Available This Year

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Stephanie Stahl, CBS 3 and The CW Philly 57’s Emmy Award-win...
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By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS)– With the flu season quickly approaching, experts are urging everyone to get vaccinated now.  This year there are more ways to protect yourself than ever before.  3 On Your Side Health Reporter Stephanie Stahl helps you figure out your best option.

Myla Brown of Philadelphia is getting her flu vaccine early this year. “To prevent me from getting the flu,” said Myla.

It’s recommended that everyone over six months get a flu shot, and there are a variety to choose from.

“In the 2013-2014 season there are lots of options available, more options than there have been in the past,” said Dr. Steven Weinberger, with the American College of Physicians.

Regular flu shots guard against three strains of influenza.  The newest vaccine available, for the first time this year, protects against four of the most prevalent flu viruses.

“Adding a fourth antigen would actually increase the coverage we can provide,” said Dr. Sonia Gidwani, a pediatrician.

If you hate shots, there’s a nasal spray.  It’s a live virus and only approved for healthy people ages two to 49.  This year it contains the newest four strain formula.

Also new this year, an egg-free vaccine that is approved for people 18 through 49 years of age.

There’s also a vaccine with a much smaller needle called Intradermal, approved for people between the ages of 18 and 64.

For those over 65, a high dose vaccine is available.  It has four times the amount of antigen to create a stronger immune response.

“I think that the bottom line is you need to get the vaccine, and ideally your care provider should be able to customize which vaccine is appropriate for you,” said Dr. Weinberger.

Most doctors and clinics will not have all of the options available, so be sure to check with them in advance.

Local health department flu shot clinics are starting up, tomorrow Camden’s gets underway.

To see a Flu Resource Guide, go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2013/09/25/seasonal-flu-resource-guide/

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