ATLANTA -- For the first time, a new vaccine called a "quadrivalent" will cover four strains of the flu virus instead of the usual three strains covered by past vaccines.
It's early in this year's flu season, but the Atlanta-based CDC is already reporting sporadic activity across the country.
"The time to get vaccinated isn't during the season, it's before the season," said CDC epidemiologist Michael Young, MD. "So right now is the time."
"We're likely to see cases this week and the coming weeks," he added. "Then we'll see activity pick up in the fall and early winter."
Health officials are encouraging people ages six months and older to get a flu vaccine now, arguing it offers the best protection against the miserable and often dangerous flu symptoms.
Also for the first time this year, egg-free vaccines are on the market
"This year there's a brand new vaccine that we haven't had before that doesn't involve eggs at all and should not cause any allergic reaction in folks that have had an allergy to eggs," said Young of the CDC.
For those needing a flu shot but who wish to avoid needles, there are even more options. The FluMist covers the four strains this year.
There's also the intradermal needle, which uses a much smaller needle than the more typical flu shot.