Influenza vaccines are released twice a year (Southern Hemisphere and Northern Hemisphere).
The World Health Organisation (WHO) released the 2020 seasonal influenza vaccine recommendation for the Southern Hemisphere (SH). Due to a change in the composition of the H3N2 component in the new 2020 SH vaccine, those who received the 2019-20 NH seasonal influenza vaccine should be vaccinated with 2020 SH, since it contains new strains.
The 2020 SH is meant to protect against influenza strains that are predicted to be active during the upcoming southern hemisphere influenza season, typically from May to October 2020 (usually peaking in August).
Singapore MOH’s Expert Committee on Immunisation (ECI) recommends influenza vaccination for the following groups (i.e., those at increased risk of influenza-related complications):
Persons aged 65 years or older
Young children (aged 6 to 59 months)
Pregnant women (all stages)
Persons with chronic medical diseases (including cardiovascular, pulmonary, metabolic, renal, neurologic, hepatic, or haematologic disorders)
Persons who are immunosuppressed
Anyone staying in intermediate or long-term care facilities to reduce the risk of influenza transmission
In these vulnerable populations, influenza is associated with a higher risk of complications, including:
secondary bacterial pneumonia
Worsening of chronic health conditions such as asthma, diabetes or heart failure
Apart from being vaccinated, it is also important to take measures to reduce the spread of influenza by:
- 1 Washing your hands – frequent hand-washing is an effective way to prevent many common infections, including influenza. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are also suitable.
- 2 Containing your coughs and sneezes – Covering your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough. The most effective method is to cough into a piece of tissue paper.
- 3 Avoiding crowds – The flu spreads easily wherever people congregate — in childcare centres, schools, office buildings, auditoriums and public transportation.
- 4 Staying home for at least 24 hours after your fever subsides so as to reduce your chance of infecting others.
Cross Street Medical has received the first batch of the newly released 2020 SH flu vaccine. Protect you and your loved ones today.
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The latest quadrivalent vaccine for use in the 2020 southern hemisphere influenza season contains the following:
an A/Brisbane/02/2018 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus
an A/South Australia/34/2019 (H3N2)-like virus
a B/Washington/02/2019-like (B/Victoria lineage) virus
a B/Phuket/3073/2013-like (B/Yamagata lineage) virus