After recent improvements, scientists hope to get better results from this year’s flu vaccine. Last year, medical experts have confronted themselves with the H3N2 strain making most of the vaccines ineffective. Therefore, an improved series of flu vaccines will be used this season.
Medical experts and health facilities have already started to prepare themselves for the winter period, even though the official vaccination period has not yet started. This time they plan to stay ahead of viruses and they recommend patients to do the same, particularly children and old individuals, who are sensitive to flu bugs.
Researchers have stated that the formula has been improved to offer increased protection. Last year’s vaccination period had a 13 percent effectiveness as a result of an unexpected strain mutation. The vaccine was supposed to have a 50 or 60 percent effectiveness, but most patients remained unprotected against the Influenza A or H3N2 virus.
Tom Frieden, director at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, explained that the mutated virus appeared much later compared to the fabrication date of the vaccines. Thus, last year’s vaccine did not contain all the necessary flu strains to keep people protected.
Producers have taken new measures this year. They have included both flu strains of the Influenza B virus, as well as the mutated H3N2 form. This way, they hope all influenza cases will be prevented.
Frieden did not say what will happen if a new mutated virus emerged this year, as well. The CDC representative hopes doctors will not be taken by surprise this year. He takes great confidence that the new flu vaccine containing the H3 strain will be enough to protect vulnerable Americans over 65.
Yet, figures indicate that the percentage of pediatric deaths caused by influenza has increased in the past years. In 2014, 145 children died of influenza compared to 96 deaths registered in 2013. The same is valid for Americans over 65 years old, with 88 cases registered for 100,000 seniors.
Many debates have been made in relation to the effectiveness of flu vaccines with some people arguing that they cannot offer protection against all flu forms. William Shaffner, director at infectious disease foundation believes the virus strains included in flu vaccines may lead to mutated Influenza bugs.
In the end, Frieden recommended people to increase defense by using antiviral medications. This begs the question, why do we need flu vaccines for?
Will you be getting a flu vaccine this year? Do you think flu vaccines have increased your resistance against influenza? Ultimately, should so much money be spent on vaccines that eventually turn ineffective? Leave your comment in the box below.
Image source: www.biopharma-reporter.com
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