Ask the Allergist
Is the Flu Vaccine a Good Match for the Strains This Year?
There are nine influenza vaccines that have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the 2022-2023 flu season. These vaccines are all quadrivalent. This means that they protect against four different and common strains of influenza. Influenza is the virus that causes the flu. These vaccines are similar, but there is a high-dose flu shot for people over 65 years of age.
Each year, the FDA chooses the influenza vaccine strains for the flu season. These are based on recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO) and prior flu seasons. Two of the four strains in the 2022-2023 vaccine are different from last season.
Flu vaccines are typically 40-60% effective from year to year. We will not know how well this year’s vaccine will be until we get further into the season or even after the season is over. Typically, clinical studies are done to see how effective the annual vaccine is.
John M. James, MD, is a board-certified allergist. He is also President of Food Allergy Consulting and Education Services, LLC. He has worked as a medical specialist in the field of allergy, asthma, and immunology for over 30 years. Dr. James received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas and his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Tennessee. He is board certified by the American Board of Allergy and Immunology.