All individuals aged 6 months and older should receive the influenza vaccine by the end of October next season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Committee on Immunization Practices. The committee voted unanimously to accept minor updates to the ACIP flu recommendations for the 2019-2020 season, but no major changes were made from recent years.
The past flu season was moderate overall, but notable for two waves of viral infections of similar magnitude, one with H1N1 and another with H3N2, said Lynette Brewer of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, who presented data on last year’s flu activity.
Last year’s vaccine likely prevented between 40,000 and 90,000 hospitalizations, but mostly reduced the burden of H1N1 disease and provided no real protection against H3N2, she said.
The recommended H3N2 component for next season is A/Kansas/14/2017–like virus, which is genetically similar to the H3N2 that circulated last year.
Lisa Grohskopf, MD, of the CDC’s influenza division, presented the minor adjustments that included the changes in vaccine composition for next year, some licensure changes, and a new table summarizing dose volumes. Also, language was changed to advise vaccination for all eligible individuals by the end of October, and individuals who need two doses should have the first one as soon as it becomes available, in July or August if possible. The updated language also clarified that 8 year olds who need two doses should receive the second dose, even if they turn 9 between the two doses.
Additional guidance updates approved by the committee included harmonizing language on groups that should be the focus of vaccination in the event of limited supply to be more consistent with the 2011 ACIP Recommendations for the Immunization of Health Care Personnel.
The committee also voted unanimously to accept the proposed influenza vaccine in the Vaccines for Children program; there were no changes in recommended dosing intervals, dosages, contraindications, or precautions, according to Frank Whitlach of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, who presented the Vaccines for Children information.
The ACIP members had no financial conflicts to disclose.