The recent August 2010 salmonella outbreak in shell eggs for food consumption and subsequent recall has most assisted living residents worried about getting this year's flu shot. Assisted living residents and seniors around the country are among those recommended for a flu shot every fall. The immune system of a senior citizen is usually fragile and needs the flu shot to stay healthy all winter. But was has gotten assisted living residents concerned is the fact that the flu vaccine is partially made from eggs and there was a recent salmonella outbreak. Seniors are afraid that the flu vaccine will give them salmonella poisoning. The salmonella outbreak in shell eggs has been linked to 1470 illnesses in the country. The salmonella outbreak prompted a nationwide recall of more than 550 million eggs.
But assisted living residents can rest easy because The Food and Drug Administration and vaccine manufacturers confirm that salmonella and the flu vaccine are completely unrelated. Though the flu vaccine is manufactured by growing virus in chicken eggs, the eggs used to make flu vaccine come from different farms than those sold to consumers as food. Considered an important part of the government's arsenal against flu pandemic, they are also tested vigorously for pathogens, officials say. Another difference is that eggs used for creating flu vaccines are fertilized, while those sold for consumption are not. A "seed virus" is injected into the egg which grows in the egg white and is later harvested for use in the vaccine.
Sanofi Aventis, the largest supplier of flu vaccines in the US, has its own supplier of eggs. "The companies that supply our eggs are exclusive to us and follow much higher levels of biosecurity than companies that supply table eggs," says Donna Cary, a Sanofi Aventis spokeswoman. "The network of farms which supply our eggs are inspected by us and continuously meet rigid guidelines under which the chickens & eggs are monitored for any illness." Steps in the vaccine manufacturing process remove salmonella or other bacteria present. Sanofi Aventis and the FDA test every lot of vaccine before its release. One of the tests is for sterility, to ensure the product is free from bacterial contamination. This is good news for assisted living residents who can safely take their yearly flu vaccine without worrying. Flu vaccines are one of the contributing factors that have helped residents maintain their healthy lifestyle and sustain from seasonal illnesses. Assisted living facilities will notify their residents before Fall when the flu vaccines are available. All precautionary measures are taken around the facility to make sure residents do not fall sick during the winter season.
Vaccines for the 2010-2011 seasonal influenza contain the following strains:
A/California/7/09 (H1N1), like the pandemic 2009 virus H1N1
A/Perth /16/2009 (H3N2)
Flu season generally doesn't start until around October, but all of the major providers, Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi Aventis's Sanofi Pasteur and AstraZeneca's MedImmune have already started shipping vaccines to distributors. Different brands and types of vaccines are approved for different age groups. The FDA has released a complete list of this year's approved vaccines. Seniors should consult their assisted living facility to find out which flu vaccine will be ideal for their health conditions.
Read more about H1N1 Vaccine