New flu vaccines available this season
Scientists usually must choose what they think will be the most three common strains of flu. This leaves a window open for a stray strain not covered by the vaccine to infect a human and cause sickness.
"The real need for the vaccine with four flu viruses comes if that additional virus begins to circulate," Clark Kebodeaux, the assistant professor of pharmacy practice at St. Louis College of Pharmacy, said. "At this early point, it's not certain what types of flu will cause the most illnesses."
Flu vaccines will be available as both injections and a nasal spray.
"If parents want to ensure that their children receive the new style of vaccine, ask for a nasal spray instead of an injection," Kebodeaux said. "The four strain vaccine is available by injection as well, but some injections only include the three strain vaccine. Going forward after this year, we'll know if the additional protection is necessary."
This year will also see the addition of an egg-free version of the vaccine for people who are allergic to eggs. This egg-free version is available for adults from the ages of 18 to 49.
"I encourage everyone to get any version of the flu vaccine," Kebodeaux said. "There will be plenty for everyone."