New flu shot broadens protection against four strains of virus

(CBS News) A new vaccine available this flu season protects against four strains of influenza -- an offering that goes beyond the protection of other flu vaccines.

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Only 30 million doses of the quadrivalent vaccine will be available, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and, as Dr. William Schaffner, who leads the Department of Preventive Medicine at Vanderbilt University warned on "CBS This Morning," the vaccine may not be available at every vaccine supply location.

Schaffner said, "You can ask your health care provider or ask the pharmacist who's giving you the vaccine that if they have that available to give it to you because it provides broader protection.

He added, "Everyone who takes the nasal spray vaccine, a lot of kids do, will get the quadrivalent vaccine this year. In three years it will all be quadrivalent. But they're trying to make more of it as we go along."

However, holding off on getting vaccinated in order to get the new vaccine is not the way to go, Schaffner said. "At a given point, decide to get vaccinated," he said. "Getting vaccinated is better than not getting vaccinated."

In addition to the new quadrivalent vaccine, other options are available as well -- the trivalent vaccine, and for seniors, a high-dose variant, which protects better against influenza for seniors, and is covered by Medicare, Schaffner said.

In an average year, flu kills 24,000 Americans, and 200,000 more are hospitalized due to complications, according to the CDC.

For more on the flu vaccine, watch Schaffner's full interview above.

  • Amanda Cochran

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