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2010-2011 Seasonal Flu Vaccine FAQ

Here's what you need to know about the 2010-2011 seasonal flu vaccine.

What's in the 2010-2011 flu vaccine?

As always, it's a 3-in-1 (trivalent) vaccine. As always, it protects against two type A flu bugs (H1N1 and H3N2) and one type B flu bug. What's different this year is that the H1N1 component is the swine flu vaccine. It's exactly the same kind of vaccine as the other components, although it underwent extraordinary safety testing during the recent flu pandemic.

If I get the seasonal vaccine in August, will I still be protected if the flu comes around in February?

Yes. Flu vaccine protects for six to eight months, according to the CDC.

How many doses of the 2010-2011 seasonal flu vaccine are needed?

Just one dose for everyone over age 9. It's more complicated for kids ages 6 months to 9 years. These younger children need two doses of the 2010-2011 seasonal flu vaccine:

  • If they did not get a 2009 H1N1 swine flu vaccination
  • If they have never before had a flu shot or intranasal flu sniff

If my child needs two doses of flu vaccine, how long should we wait between doses?

Four weeks at least.

If my child is supposed to get two doses of flu vaccine, will a single dose offer at least some protection?

Probably not. In those never before vaccinated, the first dose merely primes the immune system. Protection comes with the second dose.

Can my child still get a 2009 H1N1 swine flu shot?

Maybe, but that single vaccine isn't being made any more and may no longer be available. But the CDC's expert advisory committee says there's no problem with getting two of the three-way seasonal vaccinations.

If my child needs two doses of the 2010-2011 flu vaccine, can she or he get one flu shot and one intranasal spray?

This is not advisable. Children who need two vaccinations in the same season should get two shots or two sniffs. But a child who gets one kind of vaccine one season can get the other kind the next season.

If I got the 2009 H1N1 swine flu vaccine, will I be protected in the 2010-2011 season?

No. Protection wanes six to eight months after vaccination. And the 2009 H1N1 vaccine protects against just one flu bug. The seasonal vaccine protects against the three flu viruses most likely to circulate -- including the H3N2 bug that's been popping up this summer.


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