Different types of flu vaccines

Different types of flu vaccines

There are widely two types of influenza vaccine available in Europe. There are inactivated influenza vaccines (IIV), and there are live attenuated influenza vaccines (LAIV) (1). These different vaccines are approved for use in different age groups?

Meet the different types of flu vaccine

IIV are made with either inactivated (killed) flu viruses or with only a single protein from the flu virus (2). They do not contain any live flu viruses, so they cannot cause the flu, even in people with severely weakened immune systems (3). IIV are injected (4).

LAIV contain flu viruses that have been ‘weakened’ (2) so that they create a protective immune response but do not cause the flu in healthy people (3). LAIV is given as a nasal spray (1).

Traditionally, both IIV and LAIV influenza vaccines have been produced to protect against three different seasonal influenza viruses (called trivalent vaccines) (1). However, recently vaccines that protect against four different viruses (called quadrivalent vaccines) have become available in more and more European countries. While quadrivalent IIV are expected to replace the trivalent vaccines over time (5), all currently available LAIV are quadrivalent vaccines (5).

Who is IIV available for?

IIV are approved for protecting people aged six months or older against the flu, including pregnant women and people with chronic medical conditions (1).They should not be given to children under the age of six months (4).

Different inactivated influenza vaccines are available for different age groups (4). Healthy adults and children aged nine and over may be given a single dose of the vaccine (4). Children aged six months to eight years who have not previously had an influenza vaccine,it is recommended to give two doses at least four weeks apart (1), for instance.

Adjuvanted IIV for older people are available in some European countries (5).

Who is LAIV available for in Europe?

LAIV are only approved for protecting people between the ages of 2 and 17 years who do not have underlying medical conditions (5). The vaccine should not be given to pregnant women (1).

Children aged between two and eight years who have not previously had an influenza vaccine, it is recommended to give two doses, at least four weeks apart (1).

We’ve met the different types of flu vaccine available in europe, and seen which age groups each is available for. Flu vaccines are safe and well-tolerated, but the flu can be severe. Have you had your flu vaccination?


References
(1) https://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/communicable-diseases/influenza/vaccination/types-of-seasonal-influenza-vaccine
(2) https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/misconceptions.htm
(3) https://vk.ovg.ox.ac.uk/vk/types-of-vaccine
(4) https://www.who.int/ith/vaccines/seasonal_influenza/en/
(5) https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/seasonal-influenza/prevention-and-control/vaccines/types-of-seasonal-influenza-vaccine

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