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Five Things to Know About the Flublok Vaccine

20131226_flublokIf your patient has a severe egg allergy, you probably haven’t administered a flu shot to him or her in years past, as many flu vaccines contain tiny amounts of egg proteins.

RELATED: Getting a Flu Shot May Protect Your Heart

Fortunately, a new vaccine called Flublok was introduced for the 2013-2014 flu season that may help. Read on for five facts about Flublok:

1. Flublok does not use chicken eggs or the influenza virus in its manufacturing process. Because the vaccine contains no egg proteins, it is safe for adults 18-49 with egg allergies. Note: People who have experienced severe allergic reactions to traditional vaccines should not receive a Flublok shot either.

2. Flublok has a shorter shelf life than other vaccines. While traditional flu shots activated this year expire June 30, 2014, Flubok vaccines expire 16 weeks from the production date. Be sure to check the expiration date carefully before administering Flublok to a patient.

3. Flublok is a trivalent vaccine, protecting against three different flu virus strains. Though some quadrivalent (with protection against four flu virus strains) vaccines are available this season, most will be trivalent. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) do not recommend one vaccine over the other and remind patients to receive a flu shot regardless of whether it is quadrivalent or trivalent.

4. Flublok’s side effects are the same as those from traditional flu vaccines. Some patients will experience headaches, fatigue, muscle aches and pain at the injection site, as are common with flu vaccines made with egg proteins. Flublok is made only for adults, not for children.

5. Flublok may be manufactured more quickly than other vaccines. Because Flublok does not rely on egg supplies and is not limited by flu strains that can grow in eggs, it can be made faster than traditional flu vaccines. This could be useful in case of pandemics or vaccine shortages, should they occur.

Learn even more about vaccines by reading these common flu shot misconceptions from the CDC!

Sources: Flublock Seasonal Influenza Vaccination (CDC), Quadrivalent Influenza Vaccine (CDC), Mayo Clinic 

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