Each year, the creators of the Flu Vaccine struggle to project what strains are going to be circulating in abundance during the cold winter months. This year, the vaccine seems to have missed that mark. While they are seeing a mild spread of the flu this year, so far, the vaccine created also doesn’t cover the strain that seems to be circulating.
Not As Effective As Previous Years
The Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, GA stated that the current flu virus has mutated. With this mutation, the current vaccine is not designed to protect against that mutated strain. Of the 85 samples of flu virus collected from the start of October 2014 to the 22nd of November, over half were different than the ones that are in the vaccine. Of those samples, Influenza A (H3N2) is the most common strain shown. This strain has a high potential for complications, including death.
Higher Risk of Death
Because the vaccine is not covering the mutated strain, those in high-risk groups such as the elderly, the sick, and the very young are at a higher risk of death from the flu. Each year the flu vaccine helps protect those in high-risk groups from contracting the illness. However, with the strain not being in the vaccine, there is no protection, leaving that higher risk factor. In addition to the higher risk factor, Influenza A (H3N2) also has a high risk for death associated with flu complications.
New Vaccine On Horizon?
With these new details, many are calling for a new vaccine to be released. However this is just not viable, as it is too late to create a new vaccine, even with today’s high-tech ways. Flu vaccines typically take about four months to be made, so if a “new” vaccine were begun, it couldn’t be completed in time to be of any use. Each flu season it is a hit or miss prediction, and while mutations do not happen often, when they do happen it will negate the vaccine that was put out.
During the 2012-2013 cold and flu season, 149 children died and 12,337 people were admitted into the hospital for their symptoms. This year, flu activity is low for now, but could increase with this new mutation. Most treat the flu with antivirals that reduce the length and severity of symptoms.
If you are at a high risk of contracting the flu then consider the flu vaccine. But there are several different flu vaccines to choose from, so watch this video to learn which vaccine is safest: http://bit.ly/1GFCSJu
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