Flu shots will include version for those with egg allergies
CHAMPAIGN — If you like to get things out of the way early, one task on many folks' to-do list in mid-to-late fall — the annual flu shot — can be taken care of as soon as next month.
Yes, it's still summer, and health care providers still won't be rolling out public flu shot clinics until the fall.
But there will be opportunities to get a flu shot in August at Walgreens, CVS and through Carle and Christie Clinic physician offices.
And if you have an egg allergy and typically shy away from flu shots, take note: Both Walgreens and Carle say they'll make available one of the two newly approved flu vaccines that are produced without using fertilized chicken eggs to grow the virus.
Carle will offer flu shots through physician offices starting sometime next month because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises providers to make the vaccine available as soon as they have it, says Sandy Neilsen, a nurse who coordinates Carle's flu clinics.
Christie Clinic anticipates receiving its flu vaccine sometime next month and will continue its practice of making it available through doctors' offices as soon as it arrives, clinic spokeswoman Karen Blatzer said.
Carle and Christie public flu shot clinics will be held in the fall at their usual times, Blatzer and Neilsen said.
Walgreens and CVS drugstores will start offering flu shots sometime in August, their spokesmen say.
Should you get a flu shot in the summer?
Getting vaccinated earlier than the fall-winter months is fine: The immunity will hold through the flu season, and providers who have the vaccine don't need to wait to start administering it, Champaign-Urbana Public Health District Administrator Julie Pryde said.
"If they have it, it's not too early," she said.
In addition to the standard flu vaccines, Carle and Walgreens will offer the new Flucelvax, the first seasonal influenza vaccine licensed in the U.S. that is produced using cultured animal cells instead of fertilized chicken eggs. It can be given to teens and adults age 18 and older.
"It is thought that utilizing this new production method, those who have not been able to receive a flu vaccination due to egg allergies will have an influenza vaccine that will be healthy for them," Neilsen said in an email. "Carle intends to give patients who suffer from severe egg allergies Flucelvax in the 2013-14 flu season."
Walgreens will also have Flucelvax, but probably won't have it available until sometime in September, said Jim Cohn, spokesman for the pharmacy chain.
Shortly after approving Flucelvax, the FDA approved another new seasonal influenza vaccine that doesn't use eggs in its production called Flublok for teens and adults ages 18-49.
Three area flu shot providers — Christie Clinic, CVS and the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District - won't have Flublok or Flucelvax available, spokesmen at those organizations said.