THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2016

Colorado announces new flu vaccine options

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment announced on Friday that there are several new vaccine options available for the 2013-2014 flu season.

New options include quadrivalent shots and nasal sprays that provide protection against four flu virus strains rather than the usual three. There is also a new vaccine available for people with severe egg allergies. Eggs are used in the traditional process for producing flu vaccines.

An intradermal vaccine is also available for people afraid of shots. The vaccine only goes into the skin, as opposed to the muscle, using a thin, small needle.

"Since flu season is so unpredictable, we recommend getting vaccinated as early as you can," Rachel Herlily, the deputy director of the department's Disease Control and Environmental Epidemiology Division, said. "It's important to get vaccinated before outbreaks occur in your area, especially since it takes two weeks for the flu vaccine to become effective."

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone over the age of six months receive a flu vaccine. Children between the ages of six months and eight years who never received a seasonal flu vaccine are recommended to receive two doses of the vaccine spaced at least four weeks apart.

During the 2012-2013 flu season, there were more than 1,500 hospitalizations and five pediatric deaths caused by the flu in Colorado.

Groups at risk of serious complications from seasonal influenza include people 65 years of age and older, children under the age of five, pregnant women and people with certain chronic medical conditions.