Influenza 2014-2015 Season Frequently Asked Questions for Immunocompromised Patients

A FAQ regarding this year’s Influenza outbreak.

  1. I have heard that this season’s influenza vaccine is not a “good match”. What does this mean?

    Influenza viruses change constantly, from one season to the next or even during a single season. Current laboratory analysis of circulating influenza viruses this season shows that one of the circulating viruses, H3N2, is genetically different than the H3N2 virus used in the vaccine. The genetic change evolved since the experts picked the H3N2 influenza virus strain months ago for the current vaccine composition. Thus, the current influenza vaccine may not protect you against H3N2 very well, but it may offer some protection, especially against severe disease.
    Typically more than one type of influenza virus circulates in a given “flu” season, therefore the current influenza vaccine will hopefully match these other types of influenza and protect immunized people from getting sick.
  2. What should I do for my child knowing that this year’s influenza vaccine is not as effective?

    First, your child and his/her close contacts (e.g. family members) should be immunized with influenza vaccine, if this has not yet been done. The current influenza vaccine will provide good protection against the other circulating influenza viruses – H1N1 and 2 types of Influenza B. The current influenza vaccine may still provide some protection against the current circulating H3N2, even though it is not a “match”.
    Second, your child and close contacts should receive medication against influenza (e.g. oseltamivir) for treatment and prophylaxis for exposures. Please see your health care provider if your child or close contact of your child develops influenza symptoms or has been exposed to influenza virus. Please seek care as early as possible

The PDF file version of this page can be found at:
Influenza 2014-2015 FAQ