What you need to know about the CDC’s new vaccination guidelines

Click to play video: 'Calgary continues to be flu hot spot despite increase in people getting the flu shot' Calgary continues to be flu hot spot despite increase in people getting the flu shot
Another deadly case of flu in Alberta has officials once again reminding people to roll up their sleeves. So far two people have died, and Alberta Health Services say that number is likely to climb. Global’s Jenna Freeman reports – Dec 16, 2016

Nasal sprays, flu shots and HPV and meningitis vaccines? It might be hard to keep up with your family’s vaccination schedule. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued its 2017 guidelines on vaccinations for adults and kids this week.

“The science is clear, and family physicians stand ready to help everyone – from the incoming administration to the general public – understand how safe and important vaccines are,” Dr. John Meigs, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), said.

From nixing nasal sprays to getting three doses of meningitis vaccine instead of two, here’s what you need to know about the updated recommendations.

Bye bye nasal spray: While it may be a painless way to get your flu vaccine, the CDC is recommending against the nasal mist this year. The move comes after it warned frontline health-care workers to stop using the nasal spray because of “poor” or “lower effectiveness.”

READ MORE: 5 ways to protect yourself from the flu

It’s been tricky for health officials in the U.S. to take a stance on the nasal spray. Just years ago, health officials preferred the nasal spray over the flu shot. After that, they had no preference. Now it’s off the table altogether.

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Got egg allergies? Roll your sleeves up anyway: In the past if adults had mild or severe egg allergies, the CDC called for sticking to egg-free flu vaccines. This isn’t the case anymore.

Go for any age-appropriate flu vaccine, the guidelines are now saying. Just make sure you’re getting your flu shot under the supervision of a health-care professional who can watch out for allergic reactions, such as hives, light-headedness or other symptoms.

Get this shot if you have liver disease: The new guidelines are calling for hepatitis B vaccines for adults with chronic liver disease, including those with hepatitis C infection and liver function enzyme levels that are twice the upper limit. If you have cirrhosis (or liver scarring), fatty liver disease, alcoholic liver disease and autoimmune hepatitis, roll up your sleeves to get this vaccine.

READ MORE: 6 vaccination myths debunked

The vaccine is an added layer of protection.

The lowdown on HPV vaccines: Teens and young adults who start getting the HPV shot between 15 and 26 need three doses.

The same goes for adults.

“If you are an adult and you’re just now getting the HPV vaccine series, you should be getting the full three-dose series as before,” Dr. Margaret Savoy said in a statement from the AAFP.

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READ MORE: Got the flu? Stay home and bosses, don’t ask for sick notes

If your kids are younger than 15 and received only one or two doses less than five months apart, they still need one more dose for adequate immunization, too. Dosing can start at as early as age nine.

The bottom line: Not enough adults are getting vaccinated, according to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).

Only 44 per cent of adults over the age of 19 got the flu shot and 20 per cent had a Tdap vaccine to protect against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis.

READ MORE: Why last year’s flu season was off to a slow, nearly non-existent start

The flu season was in full swing towards the end of December and into January across Canada. Experts warn that a second wave could cause another spike in influenza cases, too.

H3N2, as predicted, was the dominant strain circulating.

Vaccination rates nationally sit at a meagre 20 to 25 per cent while health-care workers report higher numbers at about 40 per cent.

If at least 75 per cent of the public were to be immunized, “herd immunity” would occur. That means that if most people were vaccinated, the odds of an unvaccinated person getting sick would be very low.

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Read the full CDC recommendations here.

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