Trivalent vs Quadrivalent: Your Guide to the Flu Vaccine
You’ve probably been getting a flu shot since you were a little kid– 6 months old to be exact. That’s the age the CDC recommends children begin getting the annual vaccine. Not much has changed about the vaccine you’ve been getting for ages until recent history gave us a quadrivalent version in 2012.
First things first: a biology lesson. Flu vaccines protect against A and B influenza strains. A-strains of the flu can be transmitted between humans and animals, and are generally responsible for large flu epidemics. B-strains on the other hand, are found only in humans, usually provoke less severe reactions, and do not cause pandemics.
And this brings us to… which type of vaccine is right for you?
There are hundreds of A-strains that are mutating constantly and hard to predict, while there are only two B-strains. The trivalent vaccine protects against three different flu viruses: the two most common A strains (H1N1 and H3N2) and one B strain (either Massachusetts or Brisbane), whichever is predicted to affect citizens most strongly in a given year.
This form offers the same benefits as the trivalent vaccine, with the added bonus of covering both B-strains, so four strains total. Experts see this as beneficial since both B-strains have been detected within the United States in the past 10 years.
Overall, both types protect against the flu, and the CDC does not currently recommend one over the other. Eventually, the quadrivalent vaccine will phase out the trivalent form. Right now, the quadrivalent vaccine can cost almost double the trivalent form and some insurance companies won’t cover both (we offer both shots by the way, at or lower the cost of most providers).
Be sure to check with your insurance provider to determine what you’re covered for. If you’re not sure which type is right for you, or if you’re pregnant, be sure to consult a physician prior to receiving a flu vaccination. When you’re ready to get your annual shot out of the way, give Cover-Tek a call to schedule a clinic or get your individual immunization taken care of!