A new tiny needle will be used to give flu shots this season for adults who only want a skin prick and replace the typical inch-long syringe used for vaccines.
The tiny needle was meant to get more people who hate shots to get vaccinated for the flu this year. About 166 million doses of the vaccine are expected to be produced this year. Each injected vaccine contains three influenza viruses: one A (H3N2) virus, one regular seasonal A (H1N1) virus, in 2010 this was replaced by the 2009 pandemic H1N1 virus, and one B virus.
Each year’s flu vaccine varies from the previous versions as different influenza strains emerge. This year, the vaccine is a duplicate because the three strains that sickened people last winter are still circulating. Scientific studies aren’t clear on a person’s immunity over a year, although it varies by age and overall health.
Each year there are two flu seasons due to the occurrence of influenza at different times in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. Tens of thousands of Americans die in a typical year, but there are notable variations from year to year.
Worldwide, the seasonal flu kills an estimated 250,000 to 500,000 people each year.
If shots are too scary for children, the nasal spray is still available. There is also a special high-dose flu shot for elderly people. A yearly vaccination now is recommended for virtually everyone, except babies younger than six months.